So cloud is becoming a commodity, where’s the real work and interest going to be?

I wrote a few months back about commoditisation of IT services and I’ve been thinking about this some more, wondering where my career is going to be headed over the next 10 years.

The likes of AWS, Azure, and Google, are continuing the “race to the bottom” as far as pricing goes, as well as enabling availability features. This is akin to “Stack it high, sell it cheap” and the profit will be a small margin, but on a huge amount of sales. An interesting analysis of the figures from AWS last quarter is available here (I can’t speak for the veracity of the analysis, but it’s an interesting read). It’s difficult to gauge how big a Cloud services business would need to be to compete in this world, but if multiple datacenters are needed around the globe, then I’d hazard that “pretty big” is a good answer.

What will these big players not want to do?

  1. Handhold inexperienced customers
  2. Work with a customer to migrate complex requirements into a finished solution
  3. Enable smooth interoperability with a competitor
  4. Advise on how you could improve efficiency

These are all areas that could become higher margin offerings for firms in the IT service industry. They should also be more interesting than standing up huge amounts of identical kit.

One thing we are going to need is a cloud-agnostic management suite, for deploying and managing cloud based apps. It will need to handle agile delivery, and be aware of multiple cloud services offerings and their pricing strategy, to best place those apps, and advise when to move them between cloud services, to get the best value. I don’t think there is anything currently out there that meets this bill.

There are a few options that may get there soon though, while it may have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, CSC’s Agility Platform (aka ServiceMesh) is heading in the right direction (disclaimer – I work for CSC), and VMware’s vRealize Suite is also covering a lot of the necessary ground. Both of these are still too complex at this moment in my personal view, but are evolving rapidly.

Maybe even 2 tiers of toolset are what is really required. A simple one, aimed at smaller, bespoke developers, and a more complex and scalable one aimed at large integrators. Perhaps some of the current tools are just about good enough right now, and in the spirit of Lean methodology, that Minimum Viable Product is all we need to get going.

Time will tell.


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