Having been on the road for the last two weeks firstly at Interconnect in Las Vegas and then this week at SHARE in Seattle, I have spent a lot of time talking to clients, ISV’s and IBMers and I have stumbled on a catch phrase.

Cloud is not a place, nor is it a technology, rather it is a consumption model…

Now I know that it isn’t particularly catchy, but I hope it does impart some insight. So let me expand.  Cloud is not a place, my inference here is that ‘cloud’ is neither on-premise nor off-premise.  A lot of people get hung up on whether the ‘cloud’ in question is public or private or for that matter hybrid, and see this as driven by the physical location of datacenter or infrastructure.  Whilst the location of your IT is important and should be well considered, the modern internet and the fantastic progress made by carriers has meant that the ‘plumbing’ is no longer a barrier in most cases.

Cloud is not a technology, now I have been guilty as the next person in being responsible for naming products to include the word Cloud (Enterprise Cloud System anyone?). My point here is again you should consider your technology choice wisely and of course ultimately buy a mainframe… seriously though you should not declare success because you bought the latest shiny piece of tech that was branded cloud, even if it is the Enterprise Cloud System…

The real point behind my new catch phrase is that cloud is more a cultural shift in how IT is delivered and ultimately consumed.  Any IT shop who thinks they can sit out the cloud debate, will be sidelined by their line of business execs who will effectively engage a ‘shadow IT’ function, from in the main the public cloud who do treat them as providers of service.  My contention here is that everyone in IT should look at themselves as Service Providers and should adopt the lexicon of the cloud and more deeply the methodology of offering their service, software or infrastructure -as-a-Service.  Only when an IT shop adopts the deep rooted cultural shift to becoming a service provider will the business function truly partner with them for business success and stop looking outside the organisation for IT provision.

The mainframe community is probably the worst part of any IT organisation in making this transition, whether this demographically rooted in the maxim of ‘old dogs and new tricks’ the author is less sure, what I do know is that as a mainframe community we need to make the transition and get on board.  We have the perfect platform at our backs that is ideally suited to the multi-tenant, hipervisor driven service based world of cloud consumption.  All we need to do now is play the buzz word bingo game and change our mindset to become the providers of service be it public, private, hybrid, on or off premise…