Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Question The Tough Questions To Ask In Cloud Computing

I am on record as suggesting that tough questions need to be asked by everyone (including clients, media AND vendors) before jumping on the Cloud Computing bandwagon. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYl-tzTHtQk which I recorded even before having a day job at the leading Cloud Computing Converged Infrastructure vendor.)


I read a recent article, Some tough questions you need to ask your cloud provider,  by Rutrell Yasin. It is in the respected GCN (Government Computer News), a publication I also recall being interviewed by in the past. That was during my days of being CEO, EverTrac, the pioneer in location-aware eBusiness solutions, including tracking people and assets, indoors and outdoors, in the late 1990s.

In it, the writer quotes Wolf Tombe, chief technology officer within the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Information Technology. I am certain Mr. Tombe is far smarter, more experienced and clout-carrying in government, technology, and probably even Cloud Computing circles than I am.

But, I also respectfully disagree with his contention that some applications are "easy wins moving to the cloud, such as e-mail and collaboration tools".

If "easy" refers to how quickly and conveniently an app can be deployed onto a cloud or converged infrastructure, then I would say, most apps, whether email, or ISV created vertical solutions, can be migrated with reasonable convenience and the expected amount of work.

If the contention is that somehow email and collaboration are no brainers to put in the public cloud, I strongly disagree.

I think that is over simplistic and dangerous. What apps are no-brainers to move to the public cloud should depend on the mission-critical or sensitive nature of the data or functionality in the app, not what the app itself is.

For example, even the simple email and internal discussion files of a nuclear weapons design agency with just 100 people would be far more critical to protect than, say, all the accounting data of a widget making company with 5000 employees.

So, as I have said before, tough questions need to be asked... by clients, by media, and even by vendors. The stakes are too high, the opportunity for Cloud Computing to be a globally beneficial tool is too huge, and the threats too serious, for any of these elements to be glossed over.

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