Cloud Computing is still a hot topic. And there are still many different definitions out there. I personally tend to differentiate between two terms:
- Cloud: An IT environment to product IT services.
- Cloud Computing: Making use of these services - procurement, orchestration, management,...
Based on that, the sometimes discussed analogy between the Industrial Revolution and Cloud Computing is acceptable - one has to be careful with analogies because most of them have weaknesses. When looking at the concept of Cloud Computing, it is about the optimization of service delivery, based on orchestrated services (1 to n services) out of 1 to n clouds. The target is to provide the most adequate (which is a result of cost, availability, governance requirements, and many other factors) "service supply chain" to fulfill the business needs.
To do that, services must be produced efficiently. That is where automation comes into play. The internal IT environment acting as a cloud has to be efficient. Automation is a key element for efficiency. Virtualization might help as well, but efficient virtualization requires a lot of automation.
The industrialization paradigm, on the other hand, is valid when looking at the entire picture:
- The production of services (goods, parts) is automated.
- New services (goods) are built based on parts which might be delivered by external suppliers.
From an organizational perspective that leads to two different layers of IT organizations within organizations:
- The management (procurement, orchestration, auditing,...) of services, which builds on services delivered by clouds to produce the final service which is required by the business.
- The production of IT services, internally or externally.