Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Cloud Computing, Cutting through the Hype

"Cloud" has become a charged, and sometimes polarizing, word within enterprise IT organizations. It is the topic of many conversations and has become a priority on most CIO agendas. For now though, there is far more hype than reality and we've found that even definitions about what cloud means vary wildly from 'expert' to 'expert.'
Overuse of the term cloud combined with general ambiguity about its meaning have led to often negative reactions within IT teams.

We like this definition of cloud from VMware’s Vice-President of Desktop Products;
‘Cloud is not a destination, and it's not outsourcing. Cloud really describes a new approach to IT and a new model for how IT services are architected, delivered and managed. For end-users, cloud computing means simplified, self-service access where IT "products" (think services like e-mail or travel booking) are listed in browse-able service catalogs (for instance, app stores) and can be instantly ordered and used. Cloud also means payment based on usage and very high expectations for service availability (24/7) and access (from anywhere and with any device).’

By discussing these core principles with our customers, we are able to provide some clarity around our definition of cloud computing. This often leads to interesting insights, and brings into relief the variance between perception and reality when it comes to this new approach to computing. Virtualization has brought many companies closer to the cloud than they may realize. In my next article I'll talk more specifically about how customers adopt characteristics of cloud computing as they progress through the phases of the virtualization journey.

However, key questions need to be considered before cloud computing can be considered seriously as an alternative or a supplement to existing platforms:

  1. Is the available bandwidth sufficient for wide scale adoption especially when it comes to IaaS?
  2. Is the service industry ready to assist the user community in the consulting and migration process?
  3. Are the available applications sufficient/relevant for the region to translate SaaS into reality?

Those and many more questions need to be answered in the near future if the buzz about cloud computing is not to get lost in the midst of cloud confusion!

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