3 Things That Could Kill the Cloud - InformationWeek

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Commentary
5/7/2010
06:58 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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3 Things That Could Kill the Cloud

Oh, yes, I said it. The cloud can be killed. I'm here to warn you that bad things can happen to cloud computing... There is a dark side to any shift in technology, and I think there are three things that could kill the cloud.

Oh, yes, I said it. The cloud can be killed. I'm here to warn you that bad things can happen to cloud computing.

Clearly, the wind is at the back of cloud computing as billions are spent on marketing campaigns to ensure that many core enterprise technologies are completely "cloud washed," and ready for the next PR blitz. However, there is a dark side to any shift in technology, and I think there are three things that could kill the cloud.Number One: Over-promising, under delivering. Nothing new here. Hype surrounds this technology and there are those who have a tendency to sell cloud computing as something that provides "unlimited scalability" and call it "highly secure," neither of which are completely true today.

Unsuspecting, blog-reading enterprise IT people dive into cloud computing feet first, and quickly find that technology is technology, no matter if it exists within your data center, or some cloud provider's data center. There is no revolution here, it's simply another way to consume the same things we're consuming today on-premise, and it has many of the same issues.

Number Two: The forthcoming mega security event. It's bound to happen. Someone is going to walk off with data maintained in the cloud, and that event will get huge press coverage. Or, perhaps it will be an FBI seizure where critical business data, which happened to be shared within a multi-tenant environment with a drug kingpin's data, rolls out the door, never to be seen again. You can't make these things up.

The fact is that cloud data is about as secure as enterprise data, which walks off on a daily basis as well; it just does not make the press. The trouble with cloud computing is that many are using the security issue as an excuse not to move to the cloud, and they'll cite these instances as proof that they are right. They won't be right, but it won't matter. Perception is a huge selling point of cloud computing, and if that is lost, the concept of a larger percentage migration of enterprise IT resources to cloud computing platforms just won't happen.

Number 3: The prices don't come down. Cloud computing is expensive right now, even when compared with on-premise solutions. Despite what cloud computing providers are spinning these days, in many instances, the cost of leveraging an as-a-service system, such as storage and compute, is typically more than it would cost to provide the same resources on-premise, even when considering hardware, software, and support costs... generally speaking. This flies in the face of existing thinking around cloud computing, but most who have deployed cloud computing-based systems understand this already. Thus, many find that the killer applications for cloud computing are dev/test and disaster recovery, and not core business operations. The only way to fix that situation is to lower the prices.

All of this said, I have high hopes for cloud computing, but I also understand that we have a tendency to shoot ourselves in the foot during these paradigm changes. Let's try to unload the gun first, shall we?Oh, yes, I said it. The cloud can be killed. I'm here to warn you that bad things can happen to cloud computing... There is a dark side to any shift in technology, and I think there are three things that could kill the cloud.

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