Back in April 2010, Steve Jobs wrote an open letter called Thoughts on Flash. From the time the original iPhone was released in 2007, Apple had been quiet as to why they decided to exclude Flash from the most technologically advanced phone on the planet. Partners and customers alike were up in arms because Flash accounted for 75 percent of online videos, and a large portion of websites were built on their technology. Flash had the dominant market share and had been in place for years, so the lingering question became: Why would Apple not support such a widely adopted piece of technology?

Later Steve Jobs spent time at the D8 Conference further discussing his “Thoughts on Flash” article with Walt Mossberg. He went on to describe the life of technology, “… different pieces of technology have springs, summers, and autumns and then go to the grave yard of technology. We [Apple] try to pick things in their springs.” A reference to choosing pieces of technology that are mature enough to widely use, while providing the longest runway that will offer long-term benefits to consumers. The last thing any enterprise would want to support was dying technology, just because it was the most widely used.

You may be wondering how this relates to the cloud. The parallel I’ve noticed is a similar situation in enterprise computing where on-premise labs and hosting your own infrastructure have been the norm for the last 30+ years—the dominant market share, if you will. It was proven, and most customers chose this option because it was the only option. Until around 2010, I think most people would have agreed that keeping infrastructure on prem was the right decision, the most widely adopted decision anyway. But with the advancement of the Internet and global bandwidth speeds, along with better security and more mature offerings, the paradigm has slowly shifted, and new solutions—like the hybrid cloud, have become a viable option.

Just like Flash didn’t work on mobile devices when the iPhone was introduced, on-prem labs won’t work for many different use cases—specifically development and testing, virtual training, and software demos and evaluations. Requirements have shifted and I believe cloud computing is pushing the method of hosting your own infrastructure out to the graveyard of technology.

Here’s a bit of supporting evidence:

  • Cost. Over a 3-to-5 year period, the cloud can be more cost-effective than building an on-prem lab from scratch. Most cloud models are pay-per-use or a month-to-month commitment, which makes the low barrier to entry and flexibility hard to pass up.
  • Scalability. The cloud is more scalable, more feature rich, and offers continuous feature and hardware upgrades monthly than with on-prem labs—all without requiring customers to buy new hardware or software.
  • Security. The cloud can be just as secure as on-premise labs and offers SLAs that most in-house IT groups cannot beat.

With continued pressure from cloud providers, more successful cloud adoption stories, and companies starting to adopt cloud solutions at a faster pace, the barriers and reasons for keeping labs on prem have significantly diminished.

Since Steve wrote his article, the industry has dramatically changed. In November of 2011, Adobe officially announced they would stop development of Flash for mobile devices, and the product was finally put out to the graveyard of technology. Adobe Flash had entered its technological winter.

Skytap Cloud in Its Technological Spring

Skytap Cloud has been around since April of 2008. We recently announced surpassing 200 Enterprise Customers, and our customers have launched over 1.5 million virtual machines to date.

In the past few weeks, we’ve had five enterprise customers switch from on-prem labs that in the past relied on our competition. In fact, one of those competitors even switched to Skytap themselves. Skytap Cloud is also the most cost-effective option for transitioning away from vCenter Lab Manager.

With that being said, I believe Skytap is the ideal combination of hardware, software, and services built as an enterprise cloud from the ground up. If you need to do development and testing, virtual training, or software evaluations and demos, Skytap Cloud is definitely mature enough to use, while offering the longest runway for long-term benefits.

– Alex

Alex is our West Coast Sales Manager. He brings 8 years of successful enterprise customer management to the team and has helped hundreds of organizations transition to Skytap Cloud. If you have questions for Alex, or for a general cloud specialist, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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