Seems like all it takes to claim to be a public cloud computing service these days is the ability to provide remote access to a server. From small consulting firms hosting an e-mail application to companies that provide resources that can scale up and down at a moment's notice, they are all public cloud computing service providers.
That why it's high time we start developing some real cloud computing certification levels. Right now, about the best thing we have is SAS 70 compliance, which basically means a company is competent enough to run a data center without losing data no matter how inefficiently they do so.
In the absence of real certifications, the folks at F5 Networks have been kind enough to come up with a list of 10 questions that IT organizations should ask cloud computing providers about the their technical competency and terms of service. The questions also serve as guidelines to help companies figure out if a public cloud service is really for them, or do they need to think about building their own private cloud, which in a lot of cases might be the only viable option.
That, of course, will require many internal IT organizations to up their game considerably when it comes to managing virtual servers and networks, which is an area of extreme interest for F5 Networks.
In the meantime, cloud computing providers need to come up with meaningful certifications. Right now, about the best thing we have is a definition of cloud computing developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). But all it takes is for a couple of glorified hosting companies to have trouble delivering on the promise of cloud computing to set the whole movement back on its heels.