IT Starts to Get Its Head in the Cloud

Charlene OHanlon


With all the hype and hoopla surrounding cloud computing, you'd think the technology was enjoying the benefits of being the darling of enterprise computing.

Not true. Cloud computing has had a difficult row to hoe in finding its place, thanks to customer perceptions relating to security (it doesn't exist) and privacy (kiss it goodbye). Consequently, vendors and service providers alike have endured a tough existence getting customers to take a look at cloud computing, especially for mission-critical applications.

Now that seems to be changing. A recent survey by The Yankee Group noted that while cloud computing still has a ways to go before it becomes a ubiquitous technology, it is finding a place in the enterprise. The benefits of cost savings and flexibility-peppered with solid information about the reality of security and privacy in the cloud-are now outweighing customer perceptions. In fact, 57 percent of the survey respondents view cloud computing as an enabling technology. And that's a good thing.

Now, the argument over cloud computing is shifting toward the merits of private vs. public cloud computing. According to The Yankee Group's survey, enterprises have a much higher comfort level working in private clouds than in a public cloud environment. In fact, 70 percent of the survey respondents said a private cloud is their preferred approach to cloud computing. Public clouds, they believe, still hold a risk of data leaks and security breaches, despite the availability of technologies such as Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud.

There is the possibility that enterprises may never fully get over their fears about losing corporate data to the ether. And they have every right to be concerned. After all, it's basically their livelihood that companies are trusting to vendors in the cloud. It's up to the vendors to make a more compelling case beyond just the economics of cloud computing. After all, taking the leap never killed anyone; hitting the ground does. Vendors need to ensure their customers don't hit the ground.

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Oct 29, 2010 10:10 PM Luke Vorster Luke Vorster  says:
It is not at all surprising that enterprises are wary of public clouds - they have never been otherwise with previous large-scale inter-networked technologies... Let's get real - IT business is about racing for the short-term gain over competitors. It is a primitive biological urge, when a species finds a comfortable environment, to eradicate all other species in that environment. The back-lash, however, is going to sting like a genetically modified killer-bee from the depths of hell itself - the compound total cost of ownership, the inevitable fragmentation (and lack of motivation to produce open standards through collaboration), will breed a new kind of information war, putting the power of technology back into the hands of the custodians of cyber-space. All that hoo-ha aside, however, surely vendors can put more effort into the software running on these platforms? Surely vendors need to step up and and invest in the human capital that _can_ solve these issues (e.g. computer scientists); rather than trying to bulldoze clients with politically-oriented pitches? Take a step back, zoom out, lease a smart-card-based security mechanism from toshiba/hitachi/whoever, for example, and continue in the spirit of the Internet. If not, then the private cloud could become the ruin of the Internet as it is discarded as a 'failure'. Please comment, I am very concerned about the implications of power weilded through global technology platforms... Reply

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