Open source advocate Richard Stallman caused a storm last month when he declared cloud computing a trap for the stupid. "One reason you should not use web applications to do your computing is that you lose control," he told The Guardian's technology correspondent Bobbie Johnson.
Today, the cloud isn't such a stupid option after all. CohesiveFT, a management software vendor that helps enterprises deploy to the cloud of their choice, has launched VPN-Cubed. This is a packaged service that allows you to ringfence cloud-hosted virtual servers into your own private infrastructure. You no longer lose control: VPN-Cubed means you don't have to rely on your cloud host to ensure the security and privacy of your data; it puts you directly in charge.
Enterprise IT folk will like that. They're answerable for the integrity and safety of the data assets under their control, and cloud providers have been taking that accountability away from them. "The cloud has great cost advantages," CohesiveFT's CTO Patrick Kerpan told me yesterday. "If you combine that with it being the customer's infrastructure under their control in the cloud, it really starts to firm up." Cloud Avenue's write-up agrees.
The product is aimed directly at enterprises wanting to tap into the cloud to host non-critical applications or as a burst resource at times of peak demand. The VPN-Cubed infrastructure can also be used to bridge across different clouds with built-in synchronization and failover capabilities, eliminating dependence on a single cloud provider. Supported clouds include Amazon EC2, Flexiscale, GoGrid and Rackspace.
Adding accountability is another important step towards the mainstreaming of the cloud, one that makes it much more palatable to enterprise IT managers. Following on from last week's announcements from Rackspace and Amazon, and yesterday's endorsement of the cloud by Microsoft, this is turning into a quite a landmark week for cloud computing.