Earlier this week IT Business Edge blogger Art Cole had an interesting post about the nebulous nature of cloud computing. Among the questions he posed: What are the key characteristics of cloud computing? How does it differ from utility computing? His conclusion:
If you look back at nearly all the major IT innovations of the past 30 years, few were able to define themselves fully until well past their introductory phase. The same is likely to happen with the cloud. And even though vendors and experts will render their take on what it is and what it can do, the real definition is likely to come from the user community.
While cloud computing continues to trigger much debate, a consensus is beginning to develop on the key audience for it. As I blogged back in October, both Amazon and Google are gearing many of their cloud offerings toward SMBs, and an EDS fellow opined that SMBs would be more receptive to the idea of cloud computing than their larger counterparts.
Now IDC is joining that crowd, saying that SMBs will largely determine how companies like HP, Sun and IBM deliver their cloud computing services (called utility computing in this Network World article) over the coming months.
Among the features vendors will need to offer with their cloud solutions to appeal to SMBs, according to IDC: