Cloud Summit: SAP Sees Bright Future In Cloud Computing - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud // Software as a Service
05:12 PM
Connect Directly

Cloud Summit: SAP Sees Bright Future In Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is coming more quickly to smaller organizations, largely because it is financially compelling, a panel of industry CTOs and insiders agreed.

The IT forecast calls for widely scattered clouds, in the sense that cloud computing looms on the horizon.

That was the consensus among the panelists at Tuesday's Cloud Summit Executive conference at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

Cloud computing is coming, everyone seemed to agree, slowly to large organizations, more quickly to smaller ones, largely because it is financially compelling.

MR Rangaswami, co-founder of Sand Hill Group, presided over the event with the aim of reaching some consensus about the definition of cloud computing, providing some insight into where the clouds will be forming, and examining where new opportunities might shine.

The definition remained elusive. Cynics might prefer Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's insistence that cloud computing is marketing gibberish or free software guru Richard Stallman's assertion that cloud computing is a trap.

While any cloud computing offerings should be evaluated for gibberish and lock-in risk, such definitions are too broad to be meaningful. Every business has different needs and not every cloud computing service can meet those needs.

Columbia law student and tech blogger Luis Villa, in a recent blog post, observed that there are really four kinds of clouds: traditional applications, hosted elsewhere (; services involving data that can't (yet) be managed locally (Google Maps); services that make creation of new data technically or economically feasible (Wikipedia); and services offering computing and storage, rather than data (Amazon Web Services, or AWS).

Vishal Sikka, CTO of SAP, at the conference, described for three kinds of clouds: Google App Engine and AWS-style platforms; outsourced clouds run by the likes of HP and IBM; and the clouds companies run themselves. He was there to argue that large enterprise software makers like SAP and Oracle still have a place where clouds gather and to pitch his company's vision of the SAP business suite as a single application that will eventually be able to serve any business need.

Among the descriptions of cloud computing heard at the conference, Amazon Web Services came up the most frequently. It offers the most clearly defined cloud play: a no-frills, pay-as-you-go computing infrastructure platform.

Cloud computing was described as having the following core characteristics: transparent scalability, usage-based billing, and off-premises operation.

More broadly, cloud computing can be thought of as the urge to stop worrying about how the bits flow in an organization, in order to focus on how the flow of bits can create business value.

And under that definition, Amazon Web Services falls short. As Navin Chaddha, managing director of the Mayfield Fund pointed out in a panel discussion, AWS is still hard.

In that difficulty, Chaddha sees the opportunity for new companies to help manage the cloud, to make IT disappear. If the cloud is indeed computing as a utility, as some definitions suggest, the complexities of coding and networking should be invisible to cloud customers, just as the delivery of electric power happens out of sight and out of mind of utility customers.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
How CIOs Can Advance Company Sustainability Goals
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  5/26/2021
IT Skills: Top 10 Programming Languages for 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/21/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll