When Hewlett-Packard launched its Software Universe event June 15 with a presentation on cloud computing, it was just the start of a day about clouds. HP kicked things off with its announcement at a massive event held at the Gaylord National conference center at Washington's National Harbor, and featured Bill Veghte, who recently arrived at HP after a long stint at Microsoft. Veghte said that about three-quarters of businesses are pursuing cloud computing in one way or another.
Meanwhile, General Electric was holding an event in downtown Washington at which it announced its electronic medical records software-as-a-service product. This platform is aimed at giving small medical practices a way to offer electronic medical records affordably.
Next, Verizon announced June 15 that it will be providing its own branded cloud storage product aimed at enterprises. Verizon Cloud Storage is designed to work either on its own or in conjunction with existing SAN or NAS storage systems. Verizon's product is building on a capability that the company has had for some time, but is only now being offered under its own brand.
It's significant that in a single day, the IT community has seen three major, if unrelated, announcements of cloud computing and storage products. But what's significant may not be what you think. After all, the whole cloud thing has been part of virtually every IT discussion for the last year. Even individual consumers are being offered cloud services for offsite backup. What's significant is that the whole range of cloud services is starting to show signs of offering more complete systems.
GE's example may be the best one. While much of the world of cloud computing is theoretical at best, GE Health Care is offering an actual service that's badly needed by a community of professionals that often doesn't have ready access to up-to-date IT systems. In many ways, doctor's offices and small medical practices have a great need for good IT because it helps their patients, and it can help them by making operations more efficient. But the sea of regulations that surrounds medical computing is a powerful disincentive.
GE, in its new product launch, is offering a solution to a community that badly needs a good, secure, reliable and affordable cloud service, and has no way to get it. While this service is just for the medical community, it opens the door for the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that may not deal with medical records but that need a path to secure, reliable and affordable IT systems.