James Staten at Forrester recently published his Top 10 Cloud Predictions for 2012.
In it, James talks about how cloud is maturing, and warns of the
challenges as cloud enters, as he describes it, "the awkward teenage
"Cloud technologies matured nearly across the board ...
but there’s much more growth ahead as the cloud is no longer a toddler
but has entered the awkward teenage years."
It is a great piece, and I really love this analogy. I have been
using it myself recently, as it fits and resonates so well. It also
perfectly highlights the growing need for 'adult supervision' in cloud
As a toddler, cloud was not expected to have any maturity,
discipline, self-control, or to understand the real world. So we all
just did our best to help it grow, resigned in the process to just
clean up after it and at least to prevent any life-threatening
However, as cloud becomes a teenager, I think a key to building real
maturity (as in real life) is in giving our budding teen the benefit
of adult experience and supervision, while expecting it to show a
growing level of responsibility. We need to give our teens the benefit
of our 'grown-up' experience in the real world, provide them with a
positive role model, be a 'responsible adult' for them, and expect them
to show an increasing degree of self-discipline.
In this analogy, the adult supervision is the discipline of
management and security that we know so well at CA Technologies -
discipline that we know works, and that we know is necessary, even if
our rebellious teen doesn't think so (yet!):
- It means providing discovery
to find out about our teen's 'rogue' activities - not to shut them down
(though sometimes that may be necessary), but to be ready to support
them when they come to us for help.
- It means providing security and compliance to help our teen stay out of trouble with the law, and (heaven forbid) to bail them out if they do get into mischief.
- It means giving them modelling and simulation
capabilities, to help them learn how to drive in a safe environment, so
they know exactly what to expect once they finally hit real streets,
with real applications.
- It means providing automation and assurance
so they stay focused on what is important and don't get distracted -
and if (or as James notes, when) they do crash, they don't just stay
alive but they recover quickly.
- It means helping to assemble credible capabilities
to showcase their talent and advance their best abilities, not just
grabbing the first 'uncool attempting to be cool' thing that comes
- And it means providing 'grown-up' financial management
tools, so they learn how to fit their lofty goals within a real-world
budget - and so they can learn to pay their own way when they leave home
We all want to help our teenagers become responsible adults. That
means for our teenage cloud, it is rapidly approaching the time 'to put
away childish things' and grow up. For better or worse, that means
more responsibility, more maturity, more discipline, and more
Of course, we cannot expect our teen to do it all themselves, just
as we cannot expect to do it all for them. But the grown-ups among us
who have IT maturity need to at least provide the adult supervision to
help them grow responsibly.
They may not do it exactly the same as we did (with mainframe,
distributed, desktop) - but those of us with experience in the real
world of IT need to give cloud some basic principles by which to find
its own way. Like any teen, they may make mistakes despite our best
guidance (and that is okay because that is how teenagers learn) - but
those of us who have made the mistakes before need to be there to help
pick them up when they fall over.
Bottom line - cloud is growing up, running mission-critical
workloads, taking care of others, and soon enough will be driving
itself to school. But if we want it to become a productive member of
society, we need to provide adult supervision and be a positive role
model. And that means it is time to provide 'grown-up' management and
security, with the time-honored disciplines that we all know are
Because without adult supervision, the teenage cloud may turn into a juvenile delinquent.
Want to know more about a responsible 'grown-up' approach to managing and securing the cloud? Check out ca.com/cloud for more.