Cloud Computing: Is the Hype Hiding the Benefits?
Recent research from Gartner reveals that the cloud computing sector has many over-hyped terms. But that doesn't mean that the sector is all hype. The report points out that the cloud sector includes a range of different terms and technologies, many of which are at different stages in the technology life cycle. (These stages are the trigger, hype, disillusionment, enlightenment, and productivity, says the Network World report.)
Among the cloud technologies that are overhyped are big data and platform as a service (PaaS). While Gartner believes that big data will eventually provide a competitive advantage for businesses who use it properly, the company says PaaS is still too new to know how it will play out, though there are multiple possibilities.
Public cloud storage is one area where disillusionment has set in, says the report. That's because of outages and costs that make the technology less attractive. The issues of the need for security, cost control, and integration and the need to make cloud services work with existing infrastructure will remain a barrier to adoption.
Mainstream Cloud Technologies
Two other cloud technologies are now entering into the mainstream, says Gartner. These are virtualization technologies, which are widely used, and software as a services (SaaS), which has reduced operating expenses for some businesses. (See Midsize Insider's "What is Saas?" for more explanation of this technology.)
Midsize businesses who are still on the fence about cloud computing will find this research interesting. For one thing, it highlights some of the technologies they can wait to adopt in comparison with those where it's time to take the plunge. With SaaS becoming more mainstream, perhaps some midsize businesses could use this as their entry point into cloud technology, starting with non-mission-critical services and data.
The report reinforces the known concerns of midsize businesses over security and legacy in the cloud. However, it seems certain that providers will solve many of these issues as the technologies become more mainstream. The decision for midsize IT admins is whether to wait for all the issues to be solved or to grab the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and cut costs by being early adopters in their sector.
The Future of the Cloud
Meanwhile the Gartner report highlights two new cloud technologies that midsize businesses should pay attention to. The first of these is the community cloud, which allows groups of similar organizations to have access to cloud services, potentially at a cheaper rate. The second is cloudbursting, which allows IT services to seamlessly add cloud capacity when service demand is high. Watch this space!
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.