On Dog Years, Cloud Years, and A-years

Innovations are commonly judged by how fast they reached 50 million users (Radio, 38 years; TV, 13 years; Internet, 4 years; iPod, 3 years, etc.). Another way to look at this is by time equivalents: If one Dog Year equals 7 human years than how many years of traditional IT do we travel in one Cloud Year?

This cloud year we saw quit a lot of change – also from existing mega vendors entering the cloud market – but did it match 7 years of progress in traditional IT (taking us roughly from SOA till today)? And do we really expect the next three years to bring as much change as we saw since the days of client-server or the next seven years to be the equivalent of the journey from the days of the mainframe to today?

Now Einstein pointed out that speed is relative to the point of view of the beholder. In that spirit one of my former employers handed out gold watches after 10 years, instead of after the customary 20 years, because he felt “It all moves a little faster here”. I never made the 10 year mark there (not would that have mattered as they changed the policy in my seventh year), but I did make my first A-year last month (A as in Analyst). No watch here either, just some musings on time.

Talking about musings on time, several dog years (and a few employers) earlier, I wrote a small time perspective on the ERP market, called “the Best Years” (named after the little rural town called Best, where we had kept office till then). I did not keep a copy of that internal note but the main theme was that in just a few years the way customers procured ERP had completely changed. From vendors leading the sales process, often doing custom demoes that wowed prospects with fancy features (features that BTW seldom got to be implemented post sale), to cookie cutter selection cycles where third party consultants fed vendor profiles and offerings through standardized spreadsheets generating normalized scores. Vendor offerings became more and more comparable and our RFP responses were demoted to becoming column fodder for the Lotus123 sheet (Yes, was some time ago, when there was still a market and not an oligopoly).

Question is whether the cloud market – or more specifically the Infrastructure as a Service market – has started on a comparable journey and at what speed. At Gartner we are currently working in full swing on the next iteration of the Cloud IaaS Magic Quadrant giving us an upfront view of convergence and comparability (or even compatibility) of various offerings. For those of you interested in the MQ process, I suggest reading the recent blogs of my colleague Lydia Leong, who shares some useful background and pointers.

Closing out my first A-year I also got to write technology profiles for a few of the Hype Cycle reports (such as the ones on PaaS, on CSP infrastructure, on the Telecommunications Industry and for the brand new Hype Cycle dedicated to Cloud Service Brokerage , an increasingly popular topic, also for European CSPs). These Hype Cycle reports reflect our official take on speed (years to mainstream adoption) and impact (low, moderate, high or even transformational) of such new developments. More on these later.

First however putting some focus on increasing my personal speed, as some deadlines (like for the upcoming Barcelona Symposium) are approaching rapidly.

2 thoughts on “On Dog Years, Cloud Years, and A-years

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