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Five Tenets of Cloud Computing

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.

Here are some thoughts on what can be considered to be the “right way” to think about cloud computing:

  • There is no one “cloud.” This is perhaps one of the largest misconceptions among many business folks and even some relatively technical ones. As a DropBox user, I am relying upon a public cloud. That’s a far cry from the expensive private clouds that many companies are building to power their businesses and protect valuable corporate data. Hybrids or semi-private clouds also often viable options when no single organization can afford to pay for the whole infrastructure. (See multi-tenancy.) That is, they only pay for the time they spend “on the cloud.”

There is no such thing as absolute or complete security.

  • Don’t think of security as a binary. When you understand the above, then security starts to make more sense. I don’t like to think about security in an abstract sense. There is no such thing as absolute or complete security, and that includes keeping your data entirely offline (read: in paper files in an office or physical storage facility.) Make no mistake: fires, floods, and theft have destroyed a great deal of critical corporate data in their day. Perhaps keeping apps and data on-premise is more secure than a generic “cloud.” Perhaps not. Too many other factors are at play to make blanket generalizations about that those.
  • Cloud computing is an increasingly busy and crowded place. Even established vendors like Amazon are introducing new services–and augmenting current offerings. See Amazon’s recent Zocalo announcement. What’s more, large companies are buying smaller ones at a rapid rate. Case in point: IBM gobbling up Cloudant. Rackspace may go poof by the time that you read this post.
  • Not every application can be ported to “the cloud.” As I know all too well, plenty of organizations have not retired legacy applications that are, well, long in the tooth. For this reason, marching entirely toward cloud computing may not be an option.
  • Savings comes via subtraction, not addition. Adding new cloud-based services without removing existing and expensive components doesn’t drop total IT costs. Addition by addition means more. Period.

This article was written by Phil Simon and originally published at:

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