Lawyer Bait

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Clouds are still...Well...Cloudy

I am catching up on my industry reading this morning and the recurring theme that is (still) enmeshed in the notion of cloud computing is one of cloudiness.

I was on a webcast with Surgient yesterday and bailed after 5 or 6 slides. Why? No useful information was presented. What I mean by that specifically is that the first several slides were all about Surgient and their product positioning. Stuff I could care less about and quite frankly stuff I could get from the 'Products' tab or 'About Us' tab on their website.

Note to webcasters - I need to understand how your product works by you showing me how others have made it work. I do not need to know who the founders are. The obligitory logo slide needs to tell me why these guys use your stuff and how they use your stuff. Answer the question 'So What' in your first 5 minutes or I'm gone.

One of their applications is for setting up 'internal clouds'. What??? Is that the new buzzword to get CFO's to buy new computers?

The 451 Group did a survey in October 2008 and 84% of respondents said they had no plans for internal clouds. If I has to guess why my top guesses are:

1. There is no cloud strategy in place, so no funding for stuff you can't define and understand. See Toxic Assets.

2. CFO's have figured out that a cloud is tech speak for for shiny new computers that will sit underutilized until their leases are up. Again.

3.Why would you build out a cloud for yourself vs. use the ones out there?

One thing that has seemed to gel when Cloud Computing is discussed is that there are generally 3 flavors - SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Software, Platform, and Infrastrcuture as a Service respectively. Using these definitions as jumping off points, an internal cloud becomes centralized infrastructure as a service which already exists in some form in the largest companies.

There is much to be done in making the notion of Cloud Computing understandable by CIO's, CFO's and CEO's since they must decide how good it is for their business.

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