We had an internal technology session last night and I was on a panel where each of us was asked to come up with the IT aspects of an enterprise architecture for a small (100 people) financial services organisation. My approach was based upon building up a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and then deploying it onto the cloud, which can then scale with the business.
Elastic computing makes a lot of sense in this context for several reasons, but the primary one is that information technology probably isn't (and arguably shouldn't be) the core focus of most small organisations. In other words, take advantage of software as a service, and have that scale with your business by dumping it on the cloud.
While some businesses are using this approach, there are some "interesting" questions to be answered about cloud computing before I think I'd actually propose it for some types of business. First off, there's data privacy and security. I don't want my data on the cloud and I'm sure that many businesses feel the same way. Additionally, there are some other issues around compliance and interoperability (see Cloud computing hysteria paralyzed by bolt of reality for more details on this).
Cloud computing might not be feasible for some applications at the moment, but it is another approach for us as architects to evaluate."King Cloud" photo by akakumo.
Simon is an independent consultant specializing in software architecture, and the author of Software Architecture for Developers (a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility). He’s also the creator of the C4 software architecture model and the founder of Structurizr, which is a collection of open source and commercial tooling to help software teams visualise, document and explore their software architecture.