This blog post is a response to an article by Alex Williams on ReadWriteWeb. Thanks for the shout out, Alex, and for bringing more attention to the contentious issue of cloud computing definitions. While Forrester research reports are created exclusively for our clients, our definition is freely available:
A standardized IT capability (services, software, or infrastructure) delivered via Internet technologies in a pay-per-use, self-service way.
Welcome to the fourth quarter of 2009; what we at Forrester call planning season for most IT departments. In a typical year, this is the time that infrastructure and operations professionals spend lots of cycles burning through what remains of the 2009 budget and building plans for investment in 2010 with the hope of gathering a bit more budget than last year. Of course this is no ordinary year. Economists and financial prognosticators, like our own Andrew Bartels are predicting a long recovery from the recession and further delays in IT spending. That means another year of your infrastructure getting older. There’s two ways of looking at this problem and thus your budget proposals for 2010:
The number one challenge in cloud computing today is determining what it really is, what categories of services exist within the definition and business model and how ready these options are for enterprise consumption. Forrester defines cloud computing as a standardized IT capability (services, software, or infrastructure) delivered via Internet technologies in a pay-per-use, self-service way.
While definition is crucial to having a fruitful discussion of cloud, the proper taxonomy and maturity of these options is more important when planning your investment strategy. To this aim, Forrester has just published our latest Tech Radar that maps the existing cloud service categories (not the individual vendors within each category) along maturity and value impact lines to help you build your strategic roadmap.