Clouds are on the horizon - aren't they?

Summary:Is the cloud happening or not? This is one of the questions the industry would like to have answered -- some vendors have a better handle on it than others, depending on what they're selling.

Is the cloud happening or not? This is one of the questions the industry would like to have answered -- some vendors have a better handle on it than others, depending on what they're selling.

And why you care? Because most companies hate being the first to tip their toes into the water. Let someone else be the one who shakes out the bugs, who tests to see if the vendors' claims for the returns on investment are over-inflated. Anyway, even if you do decide that cloud is where you want to go, it ain't going to happen overnight.

Then there are some for whom the arrival of cloud services and their enabling technologies has coincided with a recognition that managing your own IT adds little value -- it's not a function they want to spend time on. It may also coincide with a need for a technology refresh -- due to obsolescence or a need for more performance or features -- and this makes the cloud a strong contender. For them, the move could come sooner rather than later.

But there are others who see IT as delivering value to the business, and which helps to make the company's products and services unique. They might feel they have the balance right between their own systems and outsourced services -- or hybrid cloud, as we now call it.

And there's still quite a disconnect between those in the industry to whom I speak, and those out in the real world who are still wondering what the fuss is all about.

So I think it's patchy but I believe adoption is slowly accelerating. The services are maturing, there are plenty to choose from, and straws in the wind such as Citrix's acquisition of Cloud.com suggest that the big players are lining up with an ever-widening set of cloud-based product offerings.

Yet this is the point to repeat advice I gave three months back: check the small print very carefully before committing to fundamental shifts, and make sure that your data will be safe and that you can get it back.

Topics: Networking

About

Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger. As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites. I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceo... Full Bio

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