Cloud Computing's Coming out Party

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Seven Rules for Information Governance in the Cloud

A roadmap to information governance in the cloud.

Once the hype engine starts on a new technology, it is difficult to determine precisely when it reaches maturity and begins living up to the promises its promoters make. Cloud computing and its antecedents, for instance, has been around for decades.

During the past five years or so, the explosion of available bandwidth and exponentially more powerful end user devices has enabled the cloud to move from its earlier disappointments-when it was the application service provider (ASP) industry-to the apparent success it is having today.

This report at InformationWeek, entitled "Will the Cloud Take Over Enterprise Communications?," looks at the telcos' deals. Tom Daniel, group manager for unified communication and collaboration at Verizon, told the attendees that the company's on-demand service will also accommodate the equipment that already was bought by customers. Microsoft Product Marketing Director Yancey Smith, the story said, agreed that a hybrid model that enables a transition from on-premise purchased gear to cloud-delivered services is important.

Indeed, the Enterprise Connect conference seemed to be a lot about cloud computing. At least three major carriers-XO Communications, Verizon and Global Crossing-made significant announcements at or in conjunction with the show. The deal generated a lot of coverage, including a post I wrote over at Unified Communications Edge. A person with whom I am speaking on a story in preparation for a feature on disaster recovery/business continuity made a good point: The big carriers only get into things when they are proven-but when they do come in, they come in fully prepared. This logic suggests that the carrier industry has fully embraced the cloud.

The move to the cloud seems unstoppable, though people are not without concern. Over at CTO Edge, Joseff Bentancourt wrote that he is a big fan of cloud, but is honest in assessing the potential pitfalls. He said that he is fine with relying on it because he works at a startup. He is not so sure, however, of how he would feel if his role was with a more established firm. Incidents like the disappearance Gmail webmail give him-and others, no doubt-pause.

This interesting report from CeBIT in Germany appears to have just about the proper amount of positive and negative feelings about the cloud. On one hand, none of the sources cited in the piece dismissed the cloud; on the other hand, many have serious caveats for its use. Executives quoted in the piece suggested that there still is a lot of life in traditional approaches. In addition, there are potential problems with the cloud. These involve reliability. For example, IP networks can go down. And what about the availability of enough bandwidth at all times, not just most of the time? There is also the lack of interoperability between different clouds. The bottom line is that cloud computing is here to stay, but traditional approaches are as well.


The federal government traditionally plays a big role in fostering new technologies and approaches, such as IPv6, telework and the Internet itself. It is playing the same role with cloud computing. Last month, according to E-Commerce Times, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra released a report aimed at promoting cloud computing. The document, "Federal Cloud Computing Strategy," according to the story, does a few things. It outlines the benefits, key issues and trade-offs of using the cloud, offers a "decision framework," identifies resources and suggests how the feds can encourage adoption.

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