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Tech Child's Play: Is the Cloud Still a Kid?

Tech Child’s Play: Is the Cloud Still a Kid?

A new Information Week article, penned by well-respected expert Art Wittman, condemns cloud computing as a horny youngster still in the grips of puberty.

Perhaps Wittman doesn’t attack the cloud so colorfully. But he solidly argues that, in terms of how IT people commit to its use the popular technology, cloud suffers from growing pains. Wittman reveals the results of a survey to IT organizations, asking them, “’What are your company’s plans for cloud computing?’… Two-thirds of [them] either have decided the cloud isn’t for them or have yet to pull the trigger,” Wittman avers.

Readers can extrapolate that most IT professionals have branded the cloud as a flirty teen that doesn’t deserve a full commitment, since the majority of them have yet to embrace it after all these years. Yet I partially dissent. Yes, you can contend that the cloud is only slowing emerging from its nascent stages. But we can’t ignore how the big players (Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple…) have impacted our perception of cloud computing. Their serious cloud concentration in recent years has solidified its assets and made them more accessible for both businesses and individuals.

What is more, increasingly ubiquitous publicity for the cloud — major TV ads ran during both the Superbowl and the Oscars this year — is clarifying cloud’s advantages well enough for Joe Public to grasp their allure and usefulness.

I still reverberate with Wittman on several points he lodges against cloud computing as we know it today. Cloud lacks the sophisticated metrics that would allow its users to more easily navigate it, chart their activity, and strategize. More crucially, the controversy of cloud safety repels many IT folks. They continue to circle cloud computing, attracted to its promise to ease how they do business. But cloud’s data and privacy protection overall remains too shoddy. It fails to avert enough risk to persuade the IT community en masse.

How can the cloud mature into the dashing, reliable adult we’ve always foreseen in it? Cloud technology creators and professionals should focus on four cornerstones that can ripen this kid:

  • Stabilize cloud pricing. Wittman points out the inconsistency in cost among cloud vendors, a fault with which I wholeheartedly agree. Clarify price points, and pinpoint the exact benefits a buyer will receive upon purchase.
  • Implement cloud analytics. Where is the cloud version of TweetDeck, HootSuite, or Webtrends? I’m tapping my foot.
  • Educate on data protection. Yes, the cloud needs to continually improve its security. But cloud computing ain’t the Wild Wild West. Let’s better distribute knowledge on existent privacy measures.
  • Develop a “cloud entry” cottage industry. IT planners often lament the difficulty in transitioning to cloud. What a window for new start-ups who focus on simplifying the process of cloud admittance.

And you? What do you think cloud computing needs to grow up and develop a real relationship with IT people?

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

One Response to Tech Child's Play: Is the Cloud Still a Kid?

  1. Just for reference, HootSuite runs in the cloud. We find this strategy allows us to scale quickly while providing reliable, fast service for our 3.3 million users around the world. You might enjoy this AWS case study about HootSuite: http://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/hootsuite/ for more background. 

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