Bucking the Cloud Computing Hype - InformationWeek

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Commentary
6/29/2009
07:12 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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Bucking the Cloud Computing Hype

If you push back on cloud computing, even for good reasons, then you're considered a backward thinker. If you go along with the trends and the hype, and your systems hit a cloud computing-enabled wall, then you're considered incompetent. I'm not sure which path is better.

Years ago I was running a large software development shop when the "offshoring" movement became all that and a bag of chips. I felt extreme pressure to fire some of my staff in the US and cut a deal with the dozens of outsourcing firms that were calling me daily. I was asked about offshoring so many times that it was clear to me that the pressure was on.

I had to buck the offshoring hype at the time, but for good reasons. First, our systems had issues around quality and architecture. Until we corrected those issues, bundling the code up for development offshore would do little good, and could actually kill the software. Once we stabilized the code, then I could pick portions of it to be developed in outsourced development shops, but not until then. It was very tough explaining that to laymen who just saw the dollars and cents, along with the trend and hype that told them offshoring was the way to go.In many respects, similar things are going on today within the world of traditional enterprises when it comes to cloud computing. Many IT managers are being asked to move to the clouds, but when they take a close look at the business and technology issues, it's clear to some that the options are not currently right for them.

Indeed, not all systems are right for cloud computing. In many instances you can cause great harm to your existing IT infrastructure by going outside of the firewall onto popular cloud computing platforms. What's needed is a detailed understanding of the business case and the technology issues, including security, privacy, performance, and compliance.

Despite the clear case that can often be made to keep the system or systems on premise, you're getting article after article (many by me) about the benefits of cloud computing, with passive/aggressive "Are you looking at this?" nudges. Even when you provide stakeholders with relevant data around the effectiveness of cloud computing that takes your current enterprise systems into consideration, they perceive a "control freak" who does not grasp new trends in technology. In some case, this is hurting careers.

There is a Catch 22 here. If you push back on cloud computing, even for good reasons, then you're considered a backward thinker. If you go along with the trends and the hype, and your systems hit a cloud computing-enabled wall, then you're considered incompetent. I'm not sure which path is better.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to rain on the cloud computing parade. I just completed a cloud computing book, I have this blog, I speak publically about cloud computing, and I consider myself a thought leader in the cloud computing space. However, in having that understanding, I also know that cloud computing is often not right for many enterprise systems; that fact should be understood up front. What's trendy is not always what right for your enterprise IT. If you find yourself between the enterprise rock and the cloud computing hard place, do your homework and do not crumble.If you push back on cloud computing, even for good reasons, then you're considered a backward thinker. If you go along with the trends and the hype, and your systems hit a cloud computing-enabled wall, then you're considered incompetent. I'm not sure which path is better.

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