Service Delivery Platforms peek from behind the Cloud

17 Apr

Quick note having just read Dion Hincliffe’s article on Google App Engine and Amazon Web Services (their respective cloud computing infrastructures).  These platforms are early and very basic instances of the ‘service delivery platforms’ I’ve talked about for the past few years (for an example see a presentation I gave at the MS SOA & BPM conference last year).  As I discussed during this talk, I use the term ‘service delivery platform’ in place of ‘platform as a service’ or ‘cloud computing’ since in order to really support viable and fully rounded service delivery you need to provide far more than a ‘platform’ or ‘infrastructure’ – a topic I’m going to return to now that this area has been popularised by Google and I won’t seem like (such) a lunatic, lol.  More broadly, however, I’ve discussed a number of times why I feel that economics and technology commoditisation will drive people down this route eventually and I’m really excited now to see a number of competitors emerging in this space (with Amazon, Google and Salesforce now competing with a number of smaller startups (with more to follow)).  I know I’ve said this before but people are really going to have to start deciding what business they are in – if you work in an end user organisation then you need to recognise that and start treating IT like a utility rather than a differentiator; if you’re an IT service company, however, you’d better work out whether you want to be focused on relationship brokering and consulting, utility computing platform provision or  SaaS/BPU service offers, since the economics of each are very different (you may in fact want to play in all three but if so you’d best disaggregate your company and run them autonomously under your umbrella brand – or you’ll make a complete hash of them all).

One of the interesting things for me is whether a middle-ground model will emerge that enables enterprises to take advantage of the industrialisation and economies of scale available to service delivery platform vendors whilst also enabling the deployment of ‘edge’ infrastructures to customer specific environments.  In this context we may see locally deployed ‘chunks’ of the central service created for those organisations that are large enough or who have specific privacy or trust issues (still coordinated with and managed from the centre, however).  Whether such a model has a long term future is an interesting (but as yet undecided) question to my mind but in the short to medium term those SDP vendors who were able to deliver such a transitional solution would provide a compelling migration path to enterprises who are nervous about the implications of a wholesale shift to the cloud.


4 Responses to “Service Delivery Platforms peek from behind the Cloud”

  1. friarminor April 18, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    There’s some sense in the term you are espousing, Ian. But sadly, i’m not sure if it is marketing’s fault, but having ‘service’ would likely mean money and opposite of fuzz-free.

    ‘Paas’ somehow sweetens the deal psychologically by simply offering a ‘platform’ which denotes ‘sort of foundation and clean as a slate’. But of course, we all know it hardly is deploy-ready by any means.


  2. Rearrange June 19, 2008 at 5:50 am #

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Rearrange.

  3. Laurence Faux October 1, 2008 at 1:19 pm #

    The emergence of private clouds for large corporations is the natural progression of this technological approach to software deployment. Serious organisations will simply not trust the public internet even if the cost model is overwhelming…they just are not allowed to trust it. Instead these corporations are asking their IT providers for such facilities (or will soon be given the current climate ) to be available either within their own estate or within the IT provers with assurances for Srvice levels and security.
    This of course should change nothing other than the physical location and reachability (i.e. its private) but I image some of the generic purity of the on-demand offerings will be diluted unless a hard line is taken by the cloud service provider.
    The upshot is that irrespective of whether its a public or private cloud I believe it will only suceed if all parties agree to play nicely and not expect: a) their version of a particular service b) their own designated hardware that must not be striped with any other service c) to deploy their “crown jewells to it and save lots of money as a result.

    This is a marathon not a sprint and many of the real issues that large organisations have, have still not been addressed, such as:Regulatory Compliance, Data Portability/lock in, Security and Process Transparency…and I’m sure you are all aware of many more questions for which answers have not been found.

    …but hey lets all have a go at solving them and we could move ourselves of the evolutionary slime pit and start working on adding real business value rather than where to write the incident file to.

    nice blog…hope this helped…watch this space.

    Laurence Faux
    Solution Architect


  1. Does the Cloud lead to homogenised enterprises? « IT Blagger 3.0 - April 17, 2008

    […] the Cloud lead to homogenised enterprises? 17 04 2008 Just a quick follow on from my last post about cloud computing/service delivery platforms/platform as a service/saas platforms etc etc as. I was intrigued by a […]

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