Opinion

Even in the cloud, there's nothing new in alliances

There's a lot of confusion around cloud computing. What is it exactly? Who is it for? What can it do? Hardly surprising then that groups are springing up that claim to help people understand the concept, see beyond the hype and get an idea of what it is they're buying or not buying.

There's nothing unusual in these types of circumstances for businesses to form alliances to try and promote/sell new technologies or concepts to customers under a reassuring umbrella of a one-stop shop.

The UK Cloud Alliance is the latest such grouping to emerge, labelling itself as "a small collective of screened and trusted members working together to serve UK business". It promises to "assemble exactly the right blend of technologies and capabilities that match your specific needs - liberating you from managing multiple suppliers".

On one level, this can be seen as something fairly new to cloud computing at least in that it offers a formal and single mechanism for potential customers to buy into cloud services. But it's a tad ironic when you consider that, in the wider business firmament, there is nothing new in a small number of companies joining together as a consortia to sell their wares to small and medium sized businesses. Nothing new at all.

If it succeeds or fails will be largely dependent on whether this approach is appropriate for the cloud computing market and for the type of customers it is targeting. And in that respect, whatever people think of the cloud's disruptive or revolutionising effects on the industry, it's really no different from all the other alliances that have preceded it in other areas of IT.

This was first published in July 2011

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