09 July 2013

Phasers on Obliterate!!

Recent discussions about pair programming and cloud lead me to conclude that cloud, in particular, depends on a peculiar reality. The attractiveness of cloud, from a client point of view, is that one need not store inventory of hardware (on-line or off-line) to deal with (un-)expected peaks in demand. Cloud vendors, at least apocryphally, provide instant access (and de-access) to resources. In order to do that, of course, the cloud vendors have to hold the necessary inventory against demands of hundreds or thousands of clients. If said clients are Mom & Pop Shops, who've little buying power for hardware, then cloud vendors, with the aggregate demand with which to bargain, should be able to eke out a small profit on the delta.

But what about the steady state? Where the business will, presumably, be spending most of its life? In that circumstance, how does the cloud vendor keep its head above water? Well, near as I can tell, peaks in demand from half of the clients have to be exactly in phase with troughs in demand (or that "gentlemen, phasers on obliterate!!") from the remainder; two sine waves 180 degrees out of phase. Otherwise, cloud vendors, just like their clients previously did, will continue to add inventory resources as the organizations grow. If they don't grow, then they provide the cloud vendor with declining revenue, and the cloud vendor goes looking for a bigger cloud vendor to palm off clients. A rock and a hard place. Moreover, where's superior value add of a cloud vendor? Other than a box of parts, what do they bring to the table?

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