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Google's Cloud Evangelism Converts Enterprise Customers

International auto parts supplier Valeo has agreed to deploy Google Apps across its 30,000-member workforce.

Google's promotion of cloud computing represents a concerted effort to counter doubts sown by the company's competitors and consulting organizations with divergent agendas. When McKinsey & Co. published a report in March that warned companies about cloud computing hype, Google responded in April as if it had been stung, with a spirited defense of the cloud.

Matt Brown, an analyst for Forrester Research, observes that cloud computing is not a done deal as far as most organizations are concerned. "In terms of corporate adoption, I see a lot more evaluations and interest in cloud computing than I see actual contracts getting done," he said. "There are a number of inhibitors that will prevent it from catching on in a mainstream way for a little while."

He predicts the cloud computing paradigm will take another five years before it's widely adopted. The reason, he said, is that there's still a lot of resistance from IT professionals about security, privacy, and legal requirements. He points out that many companies are regulated by laws that restrict where they can store data or that require verification of how data is stored.

"Google has not done a good job at all at providing inspection rights for its infrastructure," he said, adding, "They are in a bit of a Catch-22. They're not trying to hide anything, but there are security reasons why they wouldn't want every company coming in and looking at everything."

He credits Google with riding the wave of technological populism, which has forced IT departments to consider cloud applications like Google Apps. But he says that competitors like Microsoft and IBM appear to be in a better position to address the enterprise market than Google, at least at the moment.

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