Cloud Computing

TMCnews Featured Article

September 30, 2010

Is Cloud an Opportunity or Threat to Legacy Products?

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

As cloud evolves and legacy enterprise software moves to the cloud, many experts in the industry are having mixed opinions. While some are seeing it as an opportunity for new applications and start-ups, others are looking at it as a threat to many legacy products.

Nevetheless, cloud computing is expanding rapidly and its impact on the IT industry is becoming obvious.

To debate its advantages and pitfalls, along with its evolution, experts from four companies driving this space came together at TechNW on Monday in a panel discussion. The companies involved include Amazon Web Services, Citrix, Microsoft's (News - Alert) Windows Azure Platform, and RealNetworks.

Legacy enterprise software, like well-known CRM and ERP applications, are moving to the cloud, but new kinds of applications will need to be developed to take full advantage of these computing services, said Amazon Web services’ CTO Werner Vogels, as reported on the Yahoo news site.

According to the panelists at TechNW, such a potential shift to new applications poses a threat to vendors of legacy software, reports Yahoo News. 

Additional comments from Vogels on this site indicate that companies like Oracle, SAP and CA (News - Alert) are certifying their software to run on cloud services like Amazon's. "That doesn't give you immediately all the benefits like scale and elasticity,” Vogels said. “New applications have to be developed."

While threatening existing software vendors, it opens doors for new companies to develop services that take full advantage of the cloud, the panelists agreed. Citing telecom service as an example, Vogels said that no one buys their own PBX anymore. Instead, companies are using cloud-based voice services from providers like Twilio (News - Alert), which uses Amazon, he added.

Another vendor in agreement with Amazon’s Vogels was Citrix, a company offering virtualization technologies. Citrix also believes that the shift away from legacy software is a threat to big incumbent vendors. "It's all desperately bad news for Windows," commented Simon Crosby, CTO of Citrix, whose comments were posted on the Yahoo News site. Continuing he added, "There's this thing that's paying the bills and it's not Azure." Azure is Microsoft's new Cloud computing platform. 

Nevertheless, the Citrix executive expects software built on systems from incumbents will be around for a long time. "There are a lot of legs in legacy," noted Crosby. Legacy equipment will retire along with the work force that installed it, meaning it will be around for a long time, he stated.

The Yahoo News report next focuses on Microsoft’s general manager of Windows Azure, Doug Hauger, who sees new opportunities in the convergence of three trends, namely consumerization of IT, mobility and cloud computing.

Microsoft’s Hauger foresees lot of innovation in this confluence and intends to support third-party vendors who plan to build services on Azure for popular mobile devices.

While Azure was just an example he cited, Hauger was of the opinion that innovations solutions will be developed across different platforms.

To find out more, be sure to check out The Cloud Communications Summit collocated with ITEXPO West 2010. The Cloud Communications Summit will address a growing need of businesses to integrate and leverage cloud based communications applications, process enhancement techniques, and network based communications interfaces and architectures. This series of educational sessions at ITEXPO (News - Alert) will explore how communications as a service drastically lowers capital expenditures, reduces project risks and increases service agility and value. Don’t wait. Register now.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf