Why is there so much confusion over Cloud Computing

With all of the hype that is flowing around this cloud computing stuff it is about time we started to point out that there is a problem, you know the elephant in the room type problem.    Cloud technologies as a definition is going to save you a bucket full of money type problem.

It seems that CIO’s, IT departments and vendors (VMware, Cisco, HP, DELL, Microsoft) have come to a conclusion that if they do not embrace a cloud solution then the business will fail.   On top of that, the driving force behind the hype seems to have no cohesion in the actual definition.

The number of products that are being sold with a cloud attachment, cloud in their name or supposedly a cloud solution are nothing short of marketing hype.   This hype, according to Gartner, is going to start damaging business decisions based on the cloud phenomena.

I agree with Brett Winterford and Justin Warren from IT News in their ideas and this is my outlook on the cloud.

What are we looking at?

  • Cloud is not a physical purchase – it is not a capital expense.   It is about access.  If there is any component that is hidden in a cupboard, under the stairs or in a rack,  then the solution is not a cloud.   All of the vendors have a solution that they sell to you that has a physical component but again if it is a physical component then it is NOT a true cloud solution.
  • Cloud solutions are dynamic, they grow and shrink with your use and allow for business to have a front facing system that allows for those changes.    If you are adding CPU cycles, additional Hard drives or space then the product you are using is not a cloud.
  • If I have to make a call to the helpdesk to add, remove, provision or change any component of my cloud then the solution is not a cloud.   The simple act of having to make a physical change to the cloud environment means that your solution is not a cloud.
  • Cloud is pay as you go.   If I have to sign a 3 year or 12 month contract then the product is not a cloud product.   Software as a service literally means pay as you go if I stop paying then the cloud stops delivering.   There are no contractual obligations involved.
  • If a supplier has added “cloud” to their normal offering then it is not a cloud product.   If it is the same as what it was 5 years ago then it is not a cloud.

I was watching the Technology in Business program on SKY recently and they had a number of CIO’s  from some of the big players in the ICT arena and I found that when it comes small and medium business and not for profit organisations they really have no understanding of the requirements.  They are still peddling their products and generating the “cloud hype” but they are not putting forward the true solution that businesses are looking for.

I can remember when clustering was a business changer.   The process of clustering allowed a number of servers to present to a business as a single piece of equipment.   Any one server can be restarted or changed without the business noticing.   The cloud is supposed to be able to do that.

The cloud presents a business to its users and customers as a single piece of equipment.   It is supposed to be disaster resistant and add to a business’s resilience.    It adds to the businesses business continuity.   Yes Cloud computing is the next evolution of ICT but the way that it is being sold at the moment makes a mockery of the term.

In Australia, at the moment, there is no true cloud offering.     The solutions that are based on virtual servers, connecting them together and keeping them together in a physical location will keep IT vendors busy and their customers locked into a solution for many years to come.   Will they grow with their requirements, probably not?   These solutions are available in Australia but they are NOT cloud solutions

I am afraid that the elephant needs to be let out, the vendors and suppliers should start to look at delivering a true cloud offering before the term cloud becomes obsolete and no longer applicable to business.

Posted in Cloud Based Services, Managed Security Services and tagged , .

One Comment

  1. Although you’re making a few good points, I think you’re also being a bit optimistic (read: unrealistic) about a few things.

    For example, you’re saying that if you stop paying you should stop getting the service. But as a provider, does that mean you can just delete all this data straight away? If we did that (I work for CloudCentral), we would have had a lot of angry customers. Credit Cards often expire and often people don’t update their details in time. However, if we were to just turn of the servers and remove all data, the cloud wouldn’t be suitable for mission critical systems.
    This is also a reason to offer customers a termed contract. That way, both parties know what they can expect and that there will be an ongoing relationship based on trust. However, I agree that this shouldn’t impede scalability.

    Aside from that, in case of Infrastructure as a Service, you will have to add extra capacity using an online portal. Of course you can scale dynamically, but this would defeat one of the other main advantages of the cloud: transparent cost. If it scales automatically, the bill also increases automatically. Something people don’t always seem to realise…

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