Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Is Cloud Computing all hype and no substance

Cloud Computing is the bandwagon to jump on for all the major IT vendors, but is it real or just so much "talk".

It certainly is real in terms of the money invested in cloud technology by companies like IBM, HP and DELL. However, are real world IT users making the move toward using cloud based services from these vendors or not?

The problem is what the definition is of "cloud computing".

Microsoft could, with some justification, call Hotmail a cloud based service as could Google with their "docs", but these seem pale pictures in comparison to Amazon's web services offering with the colour it provides the user in terms of virtual machine build options and self service capability.

So, why are IT users still buying physical servers by the truck load from HP and DELL?

In discussions with potential cloud based users there are several reasons given for their reluctance to make the leap.

  • security
  • face to face contract negotiation
  • job protection
  • network resilience


Is our data safe?
Which country is the data centre located in and therefore which legal jurisdiction applies?

face to face contract negotiation

Amazon have built their cloud based offering behind a self service web based portal. Contract terms and conditions appear rigid as you would expect from a "one size fits all" business model.
Unfortunately a lot of medium and large enterprise organisations rely on face to face negotiations with IT vendors not only to agree bespoke terms and conditions but to get re assurance that they are dealing with someone they have confidence in.

job protection

The larger IT departments view cloud computing as a variation on the outsourcing theme with the associated concerns over job security. "If we put our applications in the "cloud" and allow the vendor to manage them, what will we have left to do"? 

network resilience

This is perhaps the least understood area of cloud computing and the easiest hurdle to overcome. Major cloud vendors have a neutral approach when it comes to connectivity into their data centre. Even the major telco / cloud vendors will allow a customer to connect to their cloud based services using a network vendor of their choice and multiple network technologies are supported such as MPLS, Internet and point to point data circuits.

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