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Andrey
Andrey

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Is the dusk of the cloud era approaching?

Not that long ago, companies were faced with the choice of “be in the cloud or perish.” Investors pressure on the business was unprecedented, because the "cloudiness" was believed to increase the capitalisation manifold.

It was not long since managers were able to breath freely after the rush associated with the forcible transfer of business to the cloud rails, a new challenge is approaching from where they did not expect.

Reality has changed again. "Thanks" to politicians, we no longer live in one world. After decades of centralisation and globalisation, thanks to which clouds flourished, invisible walls are reappearing that divide the world into separate camps, and the economic ties between these camps are crumbling before our eyes. And each of the camps has its own advantages - access to capital, availability of vacant market niches, access to resources, access to inexpensive talents, strong technological infrastructure, convenient regulatory environment, government support programs and tax incentives, a large number of potential users - now suddenly it turns out that not all of these important components can be found on one side of these walls. The situation is different for different types of businesses, but quite often these components are scattered around different parts of the world.

Corporations themselves, although with difficulty, are trying to adapt to the new reality, showing miracles in the field of corporate structuring. Politicians and public opinion force them to choose which part of the no longer unified world they belong to, but no one wants to lose the advantages of being global. One of the typical situations is an attempt to maintain access to cheap talent on one side of the wall, while not losing the market on the other.

When it comes to cloud infrastructure, the dark magic of repainting logos and obfuscating ownership structure won't help. Clouds are very visible and under the direct attention of regulators on all sides of a fractured world. Especially when we talk about B2C services.

Suddenly we come to a situation where there will no longer be such familiar things as THE cloud for videos, THE cloud for your music, THE cloud for your photos. The current leaders will be able to maintain their monopoly only in one of the pieces of the split world, and new and very strong competitors will appear very quickly on the other pieces. And they will constantly try to seep into the neighboring territory through cracks in the walls.

Apparently, the current split is not a temporary phenomenon. Politicians do not seem to have any intention of returning the old united world for us, they are only concerned with raising the stakes in this dangerous game every day. Now this is our new reality for decades to come.

This means that we, as consumers, will have to get used to the fragmentation and marginalisation of cloud services.

And the services will have to get used to the new reality, when they no longer control the whole world, and whatever they do, they will have to put up with a couple of new very strong competitors, who they will not be able to defeat by just good old competition.

And this will lead to the fact that financial models will have to be seriously revised. Earlier it was possible to invest huge money in improving the service in anticipation of future world domination and fantastic profits, this dream is unattainable anymore. This option just no longer exists. This means that there will be much more careful investment in buying our (users') loyalty.

There are also few unexpected findings for IT companies - in the past the thesis “in the future everything will be in the cloud” was beyond doubt, and this had a significant impact on our architecture decisions. Now, when it comes to the fact that there will be no single and main cloud for some sort of need, our users will live in a situation “clouds are an option”. It is time for us to think about designing processes with a significant emphasis on “cloudlessness”.

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