Calling All Cloud Skeptics


Calling All Cloud Skeptics

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing  |  April 30, 2012

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Cloud Computing Magazine.

For conceivably the past three years, we have heard, said and read a lot about thecatchphrase “cloud computing,” whichundeniablyhas brought with it some mystique. At first, most people liked the idea of moving resources off premise, but many didn’t want to get close enough to actually touch the concept. Times have certainly changed and we are seeing a maturing cloud movement: Even though cloud is still in the hype phase, as we enter the second quarter of 2012, more companies are choosing to move their IT infrastructure or communications into the cloud.

Thehype hasalso brought all kinds of predictions as to just how significantly cloud will affect not only the IT industry, but also the U.S. and global economy. In March, IDC (News - Alert) said that spending on public and private IT cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide from 2011 to 2015. And after years of speculation and forecasts by industry analysts, the National Inflation Association – which predicts that by 2013 the cloud computing boom could surpass the dot-com boom of the early 2000s – announced the cloud computing era has “arrived,” indeed a subjective analysis.

Cloud computing, which has started to become widely adopted worldwide, is currently a $74 billion industry that accounts for 3 percent of global IT spending; by 2013, cloud computing is expected to become a $150 billion market, according to the NIA.In the consumer space, Gartner (News - Alert) is predicting that cloud services will be on 90 percent of personal consumer devices by year 2015 so that consumers can store, connect, stream, and synchronize content across multiple platforms at different locations.

Despite these “unclouded” predictions, there is still a large contingent of skeptics that believe much of these forecasts are skewed – certainly a debatable but nonetheless valid point.What we do know is that CIOs across industries have been focused on the rationalization of cloud, and in this issue of Cloud Computing, we shed light on some important topics, one being another debatable issue: the notion of public cloud vs. public cloud.

Regardless of which cloud model is best for an organization, all forms of cloud computing are on the rise with many different adoptions patterns taking hold (see page 26). But as we have learned, it’s not a decision of choosing one over the other –a hybrid model, which draws on the resources of both public and private clouds, is a more common cloud decision, especially for large organizations.

After “cloud,” the next biggestbuzz phrasewe are hearing more of in this data-driven industry is Big Data. There is an emerging trend affecting cloud storage growth, which is the notion that Big Data is driving demand for cloud storage that is in turnpushing vendors to expand their services and help companies leverage masses of data by making more intelligent business decisions (see page 24). Although more businesses are looking to the cloud for their storage needs, the industry is challenged with addressing the hurdles that delay widespread adoption.

And turning to this issue’s cover story, Cloud Computing recently had the opportunity to sit down with Walter Scott, the CEO of GFI Software, to talk about adoption trends in the SMB market, how cloud is helping this segment to level the playing field, and what concerns about cloud are justified or, more important, not justified (see page 30). Like any other tool in business, Scott says, the value of cloud comes from the thoughtful use and complete understanding of how to exploit it.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi