Leadership

Why "the cloud" doesn't matter

The cloud is just another boring make vs. buy decision, and the sooner those in IT management realize this, the less likely they are to build potentially career-ending plans based on clouds and rainbows.

Surprisingly, a couple years after "the cloud" first arrived on the IT scene I am still hearing IT leaders speak about it with breathless reverence. Even non-IT executives will proudly announce "Oh, we'll just put that in the cloud" when any technology-related topic appears in a staff meeting. The fact of the matter is that the cloud is just another boring make vs. buy decision, and the sooner those in IT management realize this, the less likely they are to build potentially career-ending plans based on clouds and rainbows.

So, what is "the cloud"?

Definitions of cloud computing abound, but they overly complicate thing. Essentially, the cloud is little more than "stuff outside your company." That "stuff" could be processing power, storage, networks, applications or any other bit of technical wizardry. When the CIO says she'll "put that in the cloud," all she is really saying is she will take something that was done in-house, and do it with someone else's "stuff." You might put any aspect of your internal "stuff" into the cloud, from raw data that you store on another party's storage systems, to an internal application you run on someone else's' hardware. Often, the cloud refers to a third party's applications, analogous to the enterprise equivalent of gmail or hotmail to employees.

The non-IT reader who is now thinking "Hey, this sounds exactly like what companies have been doing for over 100 years" gets a gold star. Conceptually, all the fancy cloud talk could be applied to anything a company does outside its walls. The toilet paper you purchase from an outside vendor effectively comes "from the cloud," and the same decision making process that you would use to choose that vendor applies to cloud computing.

Going into the cloud is nothing more than a make vs. buy decision

A frightening part of the over-hyping of the cloud is that it has obfuscated the decision-making process for determining if the cloud is appropriate for a particular IT function. Mysticism seems to creep into any cloud-related discussion, obscuring the fact that deciding to move something into the cloud is a simple make vs. buy calculation. If you are considering moving email into the cloud, tally up the costs of the various servers, software and support, divide by the number of users, and compare that to the per-seat fees from various cloud vendors. If you want to get fancy, include factors that denote reliability, security and support of the vendor.

Unsurprisingly, this process sounds very similar to the process that your COO and his or her staff go through when selecting vendors for critical components and parts. Assuming your company produces physical products, the supply chain and purchasing groups are likely loaded with people that can help you make an exceptionally thorough analysis of the various cloud vendors, and apply appropriate rigor to the process. While those in IT may quip that those buying physical commodities could never understand the subtle nuances of the cloud. However, the supply chain deals with production and design secrets all the time, and reliability is obviously a central concern since a critical vendor could hamper the company's ability to actually produce products.

If you can present the cloud in these terms, not only can you get internal purchasing expertise onboard to help you make better decisions, but you can have more realistic discussions with your peers. Rather than the cloud offering a voodoo-like panacea to every internal problem, other executives can approach it as a way to cut maintenance and administrative costs, or a way to allow IT to focus on more valuable activities than maintaining email servers or commodity functions and applications.

While the cloud currently has near-magical properties with many, like most emerging technologies these will soon wear thin, and will only serve to build mistrust and skepticism of IT and the CIO if they are sold as magical cure-alls. When you can take a rational look at cloud-based services, and analyze the decision to utilize them just as you would any other third party vendor, the cloud becomes far less hazy and much more practical.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent ...

118 comments
MGothelf
MGothelf

The big deal about the cloud is it provides a way for the techies to package a somewhat complex concept in non-technical terms that don't scare people away.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Buzz is always bad. It's the embodiment of our need, as a species, to find a simpler world than what we're given. Being largely arbitrary, like a stampede, it can sometimes send us stomping in the right directions too. It's just not likely that we'll go with the care required to reap the benefits. Cloud is one such thing. It can be very useful. It can also be terribly pointless and outright dangerous. Depending on the facts in question. On that note; I have unsubscribed from all political movement. Movement in politics always degrades into directionality, and when people stop caring about other things than direction, then going too far is always just a matter of time. Instead, I believe in stating the place to go. Deciding up-front what's the best place to be, and then finding out the route (not the direction) from here to there.

christian.verstraete
christian.verstraete

I believe you are really missing the point. First, Cloud is way more than infrastructure as a service. It goes all the way to Software as a Service, delivering individual services to enterprises. And that is where the true difference comes. It changes the role of IT dramatically, by making IT the strategic service (as in SOA) broker to the business. Outsourcing does not provide that.

SHCA
SHCA

THANK YOU for pricking the balloon! In the end, a solid grounding in reality prevails over pontification. Cautionary tale: whenever some concept is promoted this hard, for this long, with this little traction, we should always ask who stands to gain, and how much? It all smells a little self-satisfying. Is it just me, or is Microsoft desperate to champion something exciting? Remember EST?

steve.clark
steve.clark

It's about the business. I believe there is tremendous value in rapid time to market and hosting of transient workload. Today, it takes days or even weeks to stand up a new server. With Cloud processes, it's automated, it's fast, and it's accurate (repeatable). If my development group wants to deploy a PoC environment, I don't have to order new hardware. When they are done, I don't have to find new use for that hardware, and I don't pay depreciation for it for the next 3 years. Yes, we have virtualization today, but that's just a single step towards the complete model that is Cloud Computing. steve c.

norm
norm

It is just OUTSOURCING!! Good article.

oakraiderfan
oakraiderfan

Isn't this closer to an outsource versus keep it in-house decision?

richord
richord

Great article! It appears to have stimulated folks from their technology induced coma's. The toilet paper analogy seems to have caught many with their pants down and I see some have taken exception to that. Well I say just wipe it up! Others seem to claim that services like e-mail are already "cloud based" I assume because the graphic that most people use to represent the Internet is a cloud. Bravo! But without technology hype where would we be? Hype sells products and services and drives the economy. Does society really need Facebook, Twitter, Ipad's, IPhone's, Droids and drones? Do organizations need SnarePoint? Do we need toilet paper that claims it leaves no residue behind ? (yes there is an ad on TV that makes this claim). Please leave us with the hype because without the hype we have nothing to sell and you are taking food off our tables. Leave us with our few remaining delusions that we have the solution, now where is the problem? Otherwise we'll be selling snake oil from the back of our Volt electric car (which by the way has a gas engine in it so I'm not sure how that qualifies as "all electric", but then again it's all hype).

richslab
richslab

About time someone stated the obvious. I get tired of reading nothing but the "Best thing since..." hype. While IaaS and SaaS may have unique benefits compared to other solutions and IaaS and Saas may unique properties when compared to each other it still comes down to "What are the benefits and costs of having someone else do it instead of doing it ourselves?"

knutad
knutad

As someone who has worked his way up (and down, and around) all levels of management above and inside the IT-organization - and is still undergoing extensive education in the hard school of real life, I look at the banter here and I find all the quips and snide remarks really juvenile and boring. And the perspective of the C-levels that might have made it interesting is conspicuously missing from the discussion. Sure there's hype. In our particular line of business we should all be immune to it by now. And it's equally sure there are foolish or shallow managers that either have to show their executive ability by jumping onto the next "Gartner Vision" bandwagon, or cynically refuse to use any technology that hasn't been mainstream for at least 15 years. So what. Get real. Grow up. Unfortunately, foolishness and cynicism seem to be just as prevalent in the IT shop and among techs. And sorry gals and guys, I see a lot of that here. There are also a lot of smart people out there who actually try to see though the hype, understand what it's really about, and consider using new concepts for fun and profit. But these people also understand that it's not just a tech issue. "Cloud", like all useful technology based concepts, can have its own beneficial impact on strategy, governance and management, technology implementation, and processes, culture - and individual workers! For example: I hope we all agree that outsourcing in general can be a good thing if used for SOUND reasons.it can be used to focus the resources of the IT shop on the important stuff (important to others than the IT shop that is), and allowing us to reduce time spent on things nobody really cares about anyway as long as they just work, like e-mail. But outsourcing challenges us as well (Will I lose power? Do I need to learn a lot of new stuff? Will my daily schedule change? Will I have to work more or harder? Will I have to talk to users and managers more? Will my job be outsourced as well?). The same goes for "the cloud" and every other "new wave". We get challenged, our jobs get challenged, and some of us respond with fear, resistance, aggression, frustration, and sniveling. Others step up to the challenge. Leaving aside the discussion on the one and only true definition of "cloud" (which will never be resolved anyway), the available offerings do actually have some pros and cons when compared to using "traditional" sourcing scenarios. These should be highlighted - not diss'ed like they are here. The question I think we SHOULD be discussing is: if we use "cloud" for the RIGHT purposes (and what are those by the way?), how could we improve both the way our company works, along with our humdrum everyday working lives? Remember fun and profit? And after all, it really is our job as expert tech-savvies to continually advise the non-tech management on BENEFICIAL and SECURE uses of new or mainstreamed technology. So instead of knocking it, how about recognizing that the "cloud" will have an impact despite all the sniveling, and how about someone with enough balls contributing some ideas about how it might be used the right way, for the right reasons - to our advantage?

fourijm
fourijm

As a commentator have said, many aspects of cloud existed during 60's and 70's. It is now more difficult due to possible bandwidth limitations - back then we used text and a slow modem which was sufficient. Cloud is to me, just a nice word for off site computing. (Off the point, portal is another nice word to use - I realised that my house has a portal - the part where you enter the house?) Management obviously like the word "cloud" - it makes them look good in meetings. I have no problem with so called "cloud computing" - technology is there to use and if it makes life easier, why not. The question is, if we spend money on cloud computing, can we then use entry level PC's as the processing is supposed to take place off site? Or can we postpone the upgrading of PC's due to the powerful off site capabilities of cloud? If not, then we may end up spending more - more for upgrading of PC's and also on cloud computing which was not necessary before. Or can we go back to terminals only like in the 70's - and we don't need a pc at all?

andy.brauer
andy.brauer

Good article wrong heading. The heading and final comment contradict each other but does get attention

TechrepLath
TechrepLath

You are looking at this with only a non-tech vision. Essentially you may be right that for the bottom line of business there is little difference between "cloud computing" and what you are describing. But it is incorrect to say there is no difference and it is disappointing that you haven't even tried to figure out or write about the actual differences. Putting one server outside of your business and connecting to it from multiple location does not make it 'in the cloud' THAT is just externalizing. You have clearly not understood what cloud computing is and before you challenge me to go ahead and explain it, if I ever have the time to explain it in enough detail, I'll submit it as a article, not a comment.

Duskic
Duskic

I think you took it a bit too far with comparing the cloud with the toilet paper. I stopped reading the article after that.

DonSMau
DonSMau

The cloud is cool and has loads of potential, but all the same buy vs build issues remain. Whats unfortunate is many see there is no downside in buying, only upside. That is so wrong. Running business-critical, or business-model-defining, data or process anywhere but in-house will eventually end in grief.

Silas Montgomery
Silas Montgomery

A lot of the replies here seem to be off topic. The article is simply pointing out the fact that the buzzword "Cloud" is overused and misunderstood. Choosing to remotely host applications or data may or may not be the right solution for a specific situation. It's our job (in IT) to carefully weigh the pros and cons, avoid the hype, and make the correct decision.

dwdino
dwdino

and similiar Sci-fi. The vision of ubiquitous data access without regard for service or access mode. This is really the dream that underpins the 'Cloud'. I can see the desired outcome, but reality is much more bleak. In these visions, portals of any shape and kind tap into pools of information quickly and seamlessly. Want the latest sports highlights - click. Want the financial forecast - click. Want my bank statement and yours - click. There are some major roadblocks to such ubiquitous access though, primarily humans. We enjoy privacy. It provides comfort and reassurance. We also seek control to various degrees. These two core ideas fight against anything anywhere as we need to know we can get to it and control what happens to it. On a more base level, the technology isn't there. Communications circuits commonly go down. Servers crash. Data gets erased or corrupted. We are fallible and so are our best designed systems. So, as science fiction continues to drive the visionaries of our field, we must take the vision and add reality. Currently, reality states that if I move 'IT' to the cloud my cost centers shift from hardware/software and staff to service provider, communications provider, and some staff. My incident response time will increase and my decision making and reliability will decrease (these are systemic associations to "on-demand" capabilities). The Cloud. Rebadged services with a new management layer allowing those without expertise to drive innovation toward disaster. The Managed Cloud. Rebadged services with a new management layer allowing IT personnel to drive innovation at risk. The Internal Cloud. Rebadged services with a new management layer allowing those without expertise to drive innovation toward disaster within a fence. The Internal Managed Cloud. Rebadged services with a new management layer allowing IT personnel to drive innovation within a dynamic fence.

jdev1
jdev1

Be a professional and do the costs and benefits arithmetic

herlizness
herlizness

Never mind the hype; once upon a time businesses had to generate their own electricity; then they resisted moving to a centralized vendor for reasons not unlike the ones presented by many here; finally they gave in to the compelling economic realities of commoditized power. The same thing is happening now to computational power.

husserl
husserl

As has been observed elsewhere, it's a term traditionally reserved for computing solutions kept out of sight. Also this: http://www.internetnews.com/commentary/article.php/3765876/Why+Cloud+Computing+Is+for+the+Birds.htm and this: http://www.internetnews.com/software/article.php/3775346 To me it's about as bad as the bad debts that have driven modern economies into such deep trouble. The cloud? Full of lemmings, forgetting for a minute that most stuff about lemmings is also apocryphal. Hah. But that is appropriate.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I don't think so. Most of the ones I've heard arguing for it answer every tech quibbble with do this and you can get rid of all your quibblers....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

That was the last big thing that died on it's arse, when the bsuiness heads got hold of it. Don't get me wrong it's a good idea, in fact I thoroughly recomnend it, but it was poorly applied and improperly implemented across the piece, and why becasue some greedy half with sold it as a cost cutting measure. As for the cloud making IT a strategic service, your head is in the clouds already, that is a total pipedream. IT is a strategic service, it's treated as a cost centree though. Paying youi and I or Cloud inc, wonlt make a blind bit of difference to that mindset.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

in the tech, just that it's not some sort of panacea. Just that while it has strengths it also has weaknesses. For instance if you virtualised in house, you could stand up POC environments just as quickly. So that's a straight outsourcing decision, the question I'd be asking myself is what is the cost of constructing the POC environment, and getting them to serve it. If the one you want isn't in the catalogue, you are a bit stuffed, getting them to do it will be a cost, maintaining the people or buying them in to do it, will be. A service where you can have your own catalogue would cost as well. A good businesshead would never take a vendor's word, or worse still one of those Gartner muppet's word for it. To me the biggest business issue with the cloud, is if you shift to it and the wheels come off, you are looking at one heck of a bill, so get your ducks lined up because the business heads will make it a tech issue and eat your arse out, if you get it wrong, or you 'let' them get it wrong.

gechurch
gechurch

That's exactly what it is. There seems to be a lot of different definitions of what the cloud is, but I think you've nailed it. And in my opinion, that's exactly what we should be calling it when talking to decision makers. Outsourcing is a term everyone understands - it doesn't have the confusion around it that the term cloud does. I wonder if you replaced the term "cloud" with "outsourcing" whether the avid believers in cloud computing would still be so committed to it.

dwdino
dwdino

the primary driver for business is cost savings. Many believe the cloud will save them money because of fee for use billing. If you IT infrastructure is ancient and highly inefficient, there may be some savings to be captured. But, with in house virtualization growing at rapid rates, most Cloud solutions actually cost more. As part of our R&D last year, we opened POC systems on a few IaaS providers. We also created a basic Linux vm on these providers with minimal resources and made sure these machines were untouched (idle). We were charged $150 a month for an idle virtual machine. Multiply this by the 500+ virtual machines which are much more heavily used in my data center, and the Cloud becomes a financial loss. Add to the systems cost the employees to manage the Cloud deployements and it becomes even worse. So, appropriate uses for the Cloud are hard to come by. Regulatory, audit, and procedural issues create more trouble. [Rant] On another note, how many accountants does it really take to keep things running? IT is normally operated near a 30/1 or higher ratio of resources to technicians. In a virtual infrastrucuture this can rise to 100+/1. So, if the C-level individuals are looking to control costs, how about cutting the accountant pool in half? [/Rant] Hope everyone has fun finding the funny animals in the cloud.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Why is it when techs point out teh massive flaws in business heads plans, it's whining, but when business heads point out the problems with a tech plan, it's sound business thinking? A use for the cloud? Marketing campaigns B2B portals Adhoc data and business analysis. All make use of it's strengths and minimise it's weaknesses in one way or another. Course that isn't what the Gartner numpties are selling is it? C level manager input. "You used a nine iron to nearly win last time boss" Yeah right.

gechurch
gechurch

I'm interested too... what are the right reasons and things to move to the cloud? In discussions about the cloud I continually see these two categories of things suggested: 1) Commodity services, like email 2) Line-of-business apps Number 1 is already a solved problem. Every man and his dog has email externally available. Sure, we can discuss moving it from our own servers into "the cloud", but I think that's a pretty boring discussion. It's a low-level implementation detail. It comes down to a cost/benefit decision, and there's not a massive cost or benefit difference either way. Number 2 is where the real discussion of the cloud begins. Maybe I'm just a control freak, but one of my beliefs is that you don't outsource the core of your business. I think a lot of others have this belief too. In fact, I have a theory that most people think that moving apps to the cloud "is probably a good idea for some other company, but it wouldn't work for us". I believe it's a concept that sounds good in theory to a lot of people, but very few will actually seriously consider it. In this case, "having enough balls" equates to "being rogue enough". If you are responsibly assessing an option, you need to consider the worst-case scenario, not the best case. The best-case usually looks great with the cloud. It's the worst-case that's the problem. If the worst happens with one of my servers, I'll head in at 2AM and work all night to fix it, I'll bring in a spare server from home to use as a temporary solution, or whatever it is that needs doing. If my app is in the cloud, I can't do that. I'm relying on a third-party. Who knows, maybe they'll have technicians that will work through the night on my problem, maybe they'll make my issue a priority. But they will have many customers, all just as important as me, so maybe they won't. Maybe they'll sign a contract assuring 100% uptime and working backups, but what if they don't fulfill this? I get to sue them? Whoopee - that will be little confort to me if my company loses all our data, or access to a vital system, or has confidential data leaked. I know with my company and the companies I consult for, my head spins at all the issues when I think about moving anything to the cloud. Many are technical issues that are solveable, but some are mental issues that I probably won't ever accept. If my boss or clients put me in charge of their app/data, the thought of moving that out of my control and into an abstracted black box is unacceptable. I'm responsible for it - and having the responsibility but not the control is a helpless position to be in. I pity anyone that chooses to put themselves in that position.

dwillemarck
dwillemarck

The 'cloud' is an emerging technology, and here to stay. Cut thru the hype, figure out if it is right for your business and use it, or dont.

richord
richord

Come on " juvenile and boring", "the perspective of the C-levels", "Grow up", "Cloud", like all useful technology based concepts", "fear, resistance, aggression, frustration, and sniveling", and finally "Others step up to the challenge". It appears that Rambo has drunk the Kook-Aid. Yes that was childish and sniveling but it was not Gartner approved. But I do agree that these fictional concepts should be examined to try to discover the pot of gold. It's especailly good fodder for consultants (and I'm one of those too)

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

the people making the decision aren't techs, the people selling teh cloud might as well not be. What other way of looking at buying the hype instead of the tech is there?

tanernew
tanernew

Thinking all new inventions/technologies with old terms is an incorrect approach but a common mistake in people. There are things we know and there are so many many things we don't know. To move from known universe to unknown part, we try to utilize our existing knowledge. This causes the mistake of wrong or incomplete understanding. We should search deeply and try to understand new things as they are. For a city man calf, cow, bull, ox are same things but for a farmer, everyone has its name and its own characteristics. Chimpanzee, baboon and monkey are not same for a biologist. It is better to apply/share some on the job experience before writing an article.

jhardy
jhardy

Silas - First of all, agreed. As I stated in a previous post, the term "cloud" is horribly misappropriated and misused (reference Microsoft's recent silly "To the Cloud" ads). But the error of hyperbolic claims that Cloud Computing is all things and everything are not remediated but abject reductionist claims that it is less than it is. It is a shome that most of the comments in this thread lean toward the latter argument. Be well, Jeffrey J. Hardy

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

then, "Welcome!" 'Off-topic' is the accepted standard here. In keeping with the 'water cooler' atmosphere, discussions are allowed (encouraged?) to wander where they will. There is neither a requirement to stay on topic nor an expectation of same.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Our job is, after the business heads have either payed an external consultant or dined out with a vendor to try and make what ever crap they bought work, to avoid being blamed for it not exactly doing what they didn't think it should, maybe, I think, sort of, perhaps...

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

but while in zoology the early bird gets the worm, in business the early adopters tend to get... well... worms, among other things not so pleasant. Hype makes people adopt things prematurely or at the very least without sufficient preparations, and sometimes makes people get things they really don't need or want, which -being wastefulness- does only harm.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

CEOs, CIOs and CTO's don't either, all they can see is instant cost savings. Long term increases, well you might leave or get promoted by the time that happens...

knutad
knutad

...that I can resist a good taunt. Get a (half-)life G-Man. "Wake up, and smell the ashes" ;-)

herlizness
herlizness

> the c-levels run the game, obviously enough; IT people have a choice of helping them get this right or perishing in the industry; commodity computing WILL be adopted pervasively older workers may be able to hang on to the old paradigm until they retire; for younger workers not adapting is career suicide

carlsf
carlsf

It would seem that there are those for and those against.... COMMENT... If you are making the decisions I see the following points. a) Who has control. b) Who is paying the bill. c) Who has to pick up the peices if it breaks. d) What do we use if it does break?. e) If it breaks who's ASS is in the line. f) Will my/our company survive. I would be very careful if the buck stops with me.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

although with a half-file of 50,000 years I'm going to be here long after you.

kdroyce
kdroyce

And I re-read what I wrote and the fact that you were able to make sense of it is impressive. I was self contradictory several times - ughh!!! Too much overtime, not enough caffeine. I have to ask though, why the strident tone in your reply? I meant no offense and just because you disagree with me doesn't make me a moron or your point of view superior. Although I did not articulate it in my initial post, I think there are pros and cons to this, just like in every other IT management decision. Our world is not simple and the solutions to problems we encounter everyday do not lend themselves well to a simplistic battle cry like, "Use the cloud." Yes, Salesforce.com has a very healthy revenue stream. While I'm not trying to be nit-picky I'm pretty sure it is not technically a "cloud" solution, it's a turnkey, hosted solution. One that makes sense for certain market segments to meet their IT needs. Your other examples are good, but it really comes down to a cost vs. risk vs. benefit decision regarding their usage. I think the bottom line is that those of us who have been part of IT since the mid 80's (and from other posters I gather many here have been at it longer than that) have seen this "solution" offered under many different guises. I don't deny that there are huge benefits and economies of scale to be had if implemented in the "RIGHT" circumstances and the "RIGHT" approach is taken. I think at the root of the majority of these posts are merely people venting about (non-technical) management's gullibility and myopic vision with regard to jumping on the next big technology thing. There's a real frustration there. However, from the other side of the aisle, there's a huge frustration with the costs and difficulties of IT implementation and operation. Taken together, does it make for a healthy tension? I think not. It's a dysfunctional relationship by every definition and at this point there are no clear winners. Peace-out!

herlizness
herlizness

> email? backup? document archives? CDNs? does salesforce.com get $1.5B in annual revenue by delivering nothing to customers?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

is a TR staple... maybe it caters to the curmudgeon within us all... maybe we need that "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT MORMON TALKING ABOUT!" -rush, and then the crash back to reality of "Ah, right, that's something else entirely". Or maybe it's to weed out all the people who respond to an article without ever reading beyond the headline.

kdroyce
kdroyce

It sounds like the majority of us have been in the IT industry for a number of years and we've experienced the hype around each sexy new "thing" offered by the hypesters to save a company money. The commonality the cloud has with other hyped solutions is that the definition is fuzzy. When a definition is as wide open to interpretation as this is it raises huge red cynicism flags to those of us that have been here before. Another ding against it is that the cloud concept ostensibly allows a company to offload commoditized services & infrastructure in order to focus IT spend on solutions that provide a competitive advantage in the market place (damn, I sound like a Gartner Group infomercial). However, I have yet to see any meaningful functionality introduced into the marketplace that actually facilitates this. An example of where "cloud" computing makes sense is in accounting software. I hate to break it to all of you but, in spite of SOX, a huge number of public companies cook their books. That represents a competitive advantage in some people's minds. Any company that puts accounting & finance data in the cloud is just asking for really sophisticated hackers to crack the safe as it were. This post is way too long, so my apologies.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Editorial control over title of the article rests not with the writer of the article. Control, also, over how anyone appreciates or misappreciates their own faculties -- as in, when you tell someone how they have "missed" something -- rests not with you.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

you make an argument against this part of his post. "A frightening part of the over-hyping of the cloud is that it has obfuscated the decision-making process for determining if the cloud is appropriate for a particular IT function. Mysticism seems to creep into any cloud-related discussion, obscuring the fact that deciding to move something into the cloud is a simple make vs. buy calculation. If you are considering moving email into the cloud, tally up the costs of the various servers, software and support, divide by the number of users, and compare that to the per-seat fees from various cloud vendors. If you want to get fancy, include factors that denote reliability, security and support of the vendor." Shut up isn't good enough.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The main thrust was that the "cloud" doesn't matter because what people are buying is the hype. C++ and SQL don't matter, there are other choices, a professional chooses the the most suitable option, not the ones a bunch of sales and marketting types are touting.

herlizness
herlizness

You're missing the point of the discussion. Of course it's true that there are bad implementations and of course its true that some c-level folks are idiots. It's also true that there is a LOT of really bad C++ and SQL code in the world ... but I don't see articles titled "Why C++ Doesn't Matter" or "Why SQL doesn't matter." They matter and so does commoditized or "cloud" computing. Mr. Gray is using demagoguery in hopes of inciting a lot of chatter here. And I guess we're falling into the trap.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Nobody is talking about doing it well they are talking doing it now and cheap. Nobody is learning lesson from the last failure becasue it was defined as success when their boss got promoted. You might eventually end up being right about commoditised computing, but I guarantee all these idiots running at it for the wrong reasons with myopic short term objectives as the main goal are going to continue to fail dramatically. C level as in mid level management aren't going to make f'all work, they don't listen to their people. Do or don't do it is a business gamble, how what and when is a technical one. I can make either one work if allowed to, it's what I do. Have you seen how many Saas initiatives have already failed, or at least succeeded poorly because plans were based on wishes not facts? The people who did that are gone one way or another, now we have a new set of lemmings a new cloud I mean cliff and another tune for the pipes. I expect the same result though. You want sucess, use the tech instead of letting it use you.