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Four cloud computing ideas that faded away

Despite many successful cloud computing developments, not every idea is a hit. Here are four cloud concepts that seemed great, but fell flat.

While most ideas seem great at the time, some simply fade away and never reach implementation. In the cloud computing market, many good ideas have emerged over the last eight years, only to disappear -- but why?

The reasons are twofold.

Firstly, in its early stages, cloud computing was an ill-defined concept. As the cloud market matured, some ideas no longer made sense and were discarded.

Secondly, some cloud technologies morphed into other technologies through updates, add-ons and developments. Therefore, some cloud computing concepts weren't necessarily forgotten -- they just evolved.

Here are four technologies that, for one reason or another, fell off the cloud market radar.

Hybrid cloud abstraction

Hybrid cloud abstraction allows enterprises to dynamically shift, or drag and drop, workloads and processes between private clouds and public clouds. For example, if a workload saturates private cloud servers, enterprises can live-migrate it to public cloud servers with a drag of the mouse. The workload is controlled through an abstraction layer, so processing doesn't stop.

Despite impressive hybrid cloud abstraction demos, the technology was very proprietary. Following the arrival -- or re-arrival -- of Containers, enterprises and cloud providers left hybrid cloud abstraction behind. Containers provide similar value, but include more open source technology for portability.

Private software as a service

When the idea came to light, private software as a service (SaaS) seemed a bit silly. Aimed at enterprises that don't want to host their data with public SaaS providers, private SaaS provides a SaaS-deployed application on private servers.

However, because it didn't provide the same cost and agility advantages as public SaaS, the private SaaS concept never really took off. At the end of the day, it was simply hosting applications internally.

Cloud mainframe

Although it still exists today, cloud mainframe is best known as managed services or remotely hosted mainframes. To take advantage of public cloud benefits, including autoscaling and auto-self-provisioning, cloud mainframes place a true mainframe server in a public cloud.

But since mainframe workloads are typically poor cloud migration candidates, the idea never got off the ground. Additionally, mainframes were already highly scalable and multi-tenant, so turning them into true public clouds didn't make sense.

Failover cloud

Failover cloud allows enterprises to fail from one cloud instance to another -- typically from a different provider. For example, in the event of an outage or if the primary cloud fails, the failover cloud automatically takes over and the processing continues.

While these third-party provider systems seemed like a good idea, setting and testing a failover cloud requires a lot of work. Additionally, there haven't been enough outages to prove that cloud deployments even need this technology. Failover clouds increase costs, and therefore lower the cloud's overall value.

Because some fringe ideas still exist today, finding cloud technologies that completely fell off the radar is difficult. However, as the cloud market matures, the list of obsolete cloud computing technology will grow.

About the author:
David "Dave" S. Linthicum is senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners and an internationally recognized cloud industry expert and thought leader. He is the author or co-author of 13 books on computing, including the best-selling Enterprise Application Integration. Linthicum keynotes at many leading technology conferences on cloud computing, SOA, enterprise application integration and enterprise architecture.

His latest book is Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide. His industry experience includes tenures as chief technology officer and CEO of several successful software companies and upper-level management positions in Fortune 100 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including the University of Virginia, Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin.

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