In the article, “Cloud Computing: A Sustaining or Disruptive Innovation?” Bernard Golden, CEO of HyperStratus Consulting, discusses the characteristics of cloud computing and its effects in the IT storage market. A self-proclaimed advocate of the theories of Harvard Business School Professor, Clayton Christensen; Mr. Golden compares the introduction of the unibody car construction as an alternative to the body-on-frame car construction to set the stage for his analysis.
According to Mr. Golden, one can label cloud computing as a sustaining innovation because it is an invention that builds on the foundation of the virtualization principle which is widely utilized in the field of data center technology. On the other hand, one could also label cloud computing as a disruptive innovation because Amazon was the first entrant in the field of private cloud computing and Amazon was not even considered as a technology vendor.
Mr. Golden concludes that cloud computing is disruptive but for the users, not the industry. He argues that users will find it insufficient to provide automated, self-service virtualization. In addition, he argues that private clouds will need to strengthen their security measures and offer “highly scalable queuing functionalities” to be able to compete against the public clouds.
This article is interesting because cloud computing is, in fact, an invention that is unclear if it is sustaining or disruptive. I think that for the moment it is a technology that is sustaining but it could become disruptive if a private provider is able to provide this service in a secure and thrifty manner with additional applications to this service.
I now pose the same question to the rest of the class: is cloud computing a sustaining or disruptive innovation?