Over the last years we have witnessed a global transformation of the IT industry with the advent of commercial (“public”) cloud services on a massive scale. Global Internet industry firms such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft massively invest in networking infrastructure and data-centers around the globe to provide ubiquitous cloud service platforms for any kind of service imaginable: storage, databases, computing, web apps, analytics and so on.
This clearly puts pressure on the on-premise services deployed using open source software components and begs the question: what is the future of the on-premise services in the long run? Can we compete with the giants and how? What are the main selling points for on-premise deployment and are they still relevant? Computer security, confidentiality of data, cost of ownership, functionality, integration with other on-site services? What are the strong points of the CS3 community? What are the weaknesses? Is fragmentation and diversity of the community a problem? What about ongoing EU-funded efforts to build an open and pervasive e-science infrastructure?
Do our end-users get functionality and reliability that can compete with commercial clouds? Could it be envisaged that research labs store their data externally and are still able to do data-intensive science efficiently? Does the current model scale into the future for the SMEs delivering technology and software for on-premise service deployments? Can institutions take a risk of lock-in with external cloud service providers? Or can such risks be mitigated?
In this presentation I do not provide answers. I try to ask the relevant questions.