Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Cloud: Next Generation "Just-In-Time" Computing

When first developed by the Japanese in the 1970's, the idea of just-in-time (JIT) marked a radical new approach to manufacturing. It cut waste by supplying parts only as required. The old approach became known as just-in-case where an inventory of parts was held for every possible eventuality...just in case. Throughout the 1980's and early 1990's, JIT became a business philosophy and a system for production management; However, there was no real master plan or blueprint for JIT.

After attending EMC Forum in Long Beach, CA last Thursday, where VMware, Cisco, and EMC (referred by EMC as the 'VCE Alliance') got on stage to talk about a shared vision around cloud computing, it occurred to me this next generation computing model correlates with JIT. After all, the goals of cloud computing are pretty similar. Cloud computing is all about cutting waste to drive efficiency so IT doesn't continue in its old ways of over-provisioning resources, just in case there's an unforeseen spike in demand. And just like JIT had no masterplan or "one size fits all" approach to follow, there's no one cloud computing model that's the de facto model to embrace over another -- at least not now or anytime soon.

As the saying goes,"Whatever is old is new again". Cloud computing, although transformational in many ways, builds on established trends that came before it -- network computing, pay-per-use, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and just-in-time manufacturing.

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