Now Can We Put the Cloud to Work? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
10/27/2010
05:58 PM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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Now Can We Put the Cloud to Work?

Gartner has released its 2010 Hype Cycle Report, identifying those technologies it thinks have reached the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" as well as those languishing in the "Trough of Disillusionment." Cloud computing hype seems to have peaked, and that's a good thing.

Gartner has released its 2010 Hype Cycle Report, identifying those technologies it thinks have reached the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" as well as those languishing in the "Trough of Disillusionment." Cloud computing seems to have peaked, according to the hype, and that's a good thing.

How can you tell the hype is subsiding? Is the guy in those meetings who says "the cloud" over and over again getting even more annoying? Have people stopped laughing when they hear the term "elastic computing?"We finally understand the truth: Cloud computing is computing, nothing more, nothing less. The innovative ways in which we may do computing is indeed new, but the underlying patterns are very familiar. So, let's figure out how to make this stuff work inside the enterprise, shall we?

There are a few things you should consider when you evaluate the value of cloud computing within your organization.

First, is to get a base of understanding as to what existing systems, or perhaps new systems development, are low hanging fruit for the use of cloud computing. This means identifying the problems that can be solved in the next year where cloud computing may be a fit, and prioritizing those problems. While you need to consider the requirements, good suspects would be:

  • Any on-premise enterprise software, such as ERP or CRM, which has better SaaS-based counterparts. We're at a point where SaaS products, such as Salesforce.com, are better than anything you can find in the data center.
  • Any development that will require a browser interface, and thus is a good candidate for one of the many PaaS systems, such as Google App Engine or Microsoft Azure.
  • Any tactical storage requirements that don't support high speed transactions.
Second, bake cloud computing into your long term strategic IT planning. In many instances I find that those who look at technology, and those who do budgeting and planning are not the same people. Make sure to dial-in the use of cloud computing into the long term strategic planning, as well as make adjustments to cost and create a business case.

Finally, start playing with the technology. In many cases cloud computing systems are free, or at a very low cost to do any initial proofs-of-concept or prototyping. You should look at IaaS, PaaS, and some SaaS, looking at what this technology can, and cant' do. You might be surprised at the performance of some clouds, such as the ability for IaaS to process locally using highly scalable resources. But, you'll also findGartner has released its 2010 Hype Cycle Report, identifying those technologies it thinks have reached the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" as well as those languishing in the "Trough of Disillusionment." Cloud computing hype seems to have peaked, and that's a good thing.

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