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Panelists Say Legacy Apps In The Cloud Are A Roll Of The Dice

The premise of the Thursday morning panel discussion at the Cloud Connect event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., was that it's possible to have the best of both worlds: your legacy applications and the cloud. By the end of the hour-long discussion, many of the 200 or so attendees seemed to have come to the conclusion that enterprise and Web-scale development were worlds apart and moving further away from each other at something approaching the speed of light.
The premise of the Thursday morning panel discussion at the Cloud Connect event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., was that it's possible to have the best of both worlds: your legacy applications and the cloud. By the end of the hour-long discussion, many of the 200 or so attendees seemed to have come to the conclusion that enterprise and Web-scale development were worlds apart and moving further away from each other at something approaching the speed of light.Dave Berlind, general manager of the hands-on Cloud Connect event, introduced two panelists with unique perspectives on migrating Microsoft and Java enterprise applications to the cloud:
    Rob Helm, director of research, Directions on Microsoft Lew Tucker, VP and CTO, Cloud Computing, Sun Microsystems

According to Helms, he and his company Directions on Microsoft have covered Redmond's shifting product road map and corporate organization for the past 11 years. "We're like the little bird that sits in the crocodile mouth and picks at its teeth," he said.

Sun panelist Tucker recently rejoined Sun Microsystems after creating AppExchange, a SaaS platform for business applications, when he was a VP at Salesforce.com. He went on to be CTO at Radar Networks, a semantic-Web-based Internet service for tracking interests, before returning to Sun to lead its cloud computing efforts.

In answer to moderator Berlind's question about when enterprises should consider embracing cloud service, both Helms and Tucker agreed that it depends on where your enterprise is in its lifecycle. "If you're a startup, it makes no sense to buy racks of servers," Tucker said. "There are rooms of legacy computers downstairs here in the Computer History Museum -- you don't want to spend your startup money on hardware that will join them."

Asked if Microsoft was "coming out of its cave" on cloud computing, Helm said from his experience that Microsoft has three approaches to the cloud: