Jonathan Feldman, writing in the CIO Insider section of Information Week, has challenged Enterprise Application vendors suggesting that customers appeal to their vendors to more quickly embrace the cloud (“Cloud Plans: An Open Letter to Enterprise Application Vendors”). In the article, Mr. Feldman argues that one of the biggest obstacles to cloud adoption is the state of application architecture and that application vendors need to get on board.
His leading question is “Cloud is inevitable, whether you’re talking about public, private, or hybrid architectures. So how come most enterprise applications are still not architected for the cloud?”
While the letter is a great idea, I’m not sure that there are too many CIOs out there ready to jump on this bandwagon. A key part of the letter suggests that CIOs may be willing to take on the task of working with vendors “to offer our site as an “anchor customer” for testing and eventual implementation of your product’s evolution to cloud-based architecture.” This is what will derail many of these plans. Why? Well, Mr. Feldman starts explaining it in closing:
“Your vendor is probably thinking about providing its software as a service–most of the time “cloud washing” a hosted offering–but that doesn’t cut it for every enterprise application. These vendors aren’t going to make the investment in re-architecting their apps until they understand that their customers need it, insist on it, and might even help out.”
The problem is that the task for a legacy vendor to move to a solution that goes beyond “cloud washing” as Mr. Feldman calls it, is enormous. Many of these applications were written 10-20 years ago. Somehow re-architecting them into a multi-tenant SaaS offering will not be possible in most cases.
These two recent blog posts provide further discussion: