By Don Willmott
If you're a frequent reader of the Dice News blog then you know the topic of cloud computing pops up in posts all the time. Why? Because that's what all the tech pundits and market analysts have been incessantly pondering and pontificating about for more than a year. Allow me to join them.
Let's remind ourselves why cloud computing is such a compelling concept. It promises the opportunity to control or cut technology costs, the ability to respond to changing market conditions almost instantly, short provisioning times, predictable pricing, and ease in deploying and maintaining applications. The pundits believe 2010's biggest cloud computing trend will likely be the use of leased server space, a subset sometimes referred to as "Infrastructure as a Service" (IaaS). It comes in many flavors, but one prominent example that's easy to understand and worth reading about is Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
"Data processing overloads, bogged-down networks, and lack of manpower remain key drivers in enterprises' reliance on the cloud and SaaS for applications," Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, told Processor.com recently. "As a result, the biggest trend in 2010 will likely be an increasing shift to use leased servers on the cloud."
So what are the problems - or should I say opportunities - when it comes to cloud computing? One survey of 200 IT pros found that only 37 percent felt their organizations would experience cost savings in the first year of a cloud-based security solution. That means some people just don't get it and could use some hard-hitting and spot-on consultation.
And another showstopper: 43 percent said they think cloud computing is less secure than on-premise approaches. Ah, yes, security. It's easy to understand why a CIO might balk at "putting my entire company on the Internet." My conclusion is that while it may be cool to be a "cloud computing expert" over the next five years, it's going to be supercool to be a "cloud computing security expert." There's also going to be a market for gurus who can guarantee that SaaS apps are true cloud implementations, which means they are truly Web-based and require no installation.
In December, Jim Baan, the CEO of Saas provider Cordys, declared at Forbes.com that "the age of command and control in business technology is over." In other words, forget about silos, bunkers, walled gardens, and data centers. In the future, our workspaces won't be locked down. Dare I say it? They'll be floating.