The recent Gmail outage clearly highlights one of the major problems with cloud computing. If a service in the cloud becomes unavailable, it can affect thousands or tens of thousands of users rather than the far smaller number of users affected if a single company’s servers go down. Still, as the cloud companies start getting to economies of scale, reliability is likely to increase.

Gmail Outage Raises Doubts about Cloud Computing (NewsFactor)

Security is the other major issue involved in bringing enterprises to the cloud, though a new report seems to point to new technologies that may be able to assuage those concerns. This report comes at the same time as another from Gartner that identified cloud computing as one of the most likely to be adopted broadly in the enterprise within the next five years. One overlooked service that the cloud may be able to provide is load testing, since the cloud can simulate thousands or millions of transactions to test new Web-based applications.

Security Risks of Cloud Computing Can Be Countered with New Technology, Says ISACA (eBiz)

Report: Cloud Computing Poised for Enterprise Adoption (Network World)

Cloud Computing’s “Killer App”: Load and Performance Testing (CNBC)

In many ways, I have been beta testing the cloud for over a decade, since before Microsoft bought Hotmail. I have since made extensive use of Google’s offerings including Gmail, Google Apps, and the various services that Google has added. Recently, I started a beta test of Microsoft’s Sharepoint Online service. I fully believe in the potential of the cloud, but need a lot more convincing before I am willing to put truly confidential data on servers owned by someone else. What has your experience with cloud computing been like?