By Ditka Reiner
The more I read about Cloud Computing the more I sense tremendous hype about the whole subject. Everywhere you look someone is selling something in the Cloud, in e-mails, on TV, in magazines; to me it feels like another way to make more money for doing the same old thing.
If you look on the Internet for a definition of Cloud Computing you may want to take out your camping gear because you will be there for a while. Everyone is rushing to provide the definitive explanation. There are dozens of videos out there from Gartner to Forrester to NetApps to pundits and talking heads all trying to describe The Cloud. They are not difficult to find.
Let me again say that I think the process a lot of people refer to as Cloud Computing is not at all new (see my blog of April 22) and I also do understand that there are some intriguing and potentially important uses for the Cloud. But the buzz is just deafening and that makes me weary.
Analysts are rushing to be the experts and to classify the Cloud into its components, telling us why we need it, why it’s cheaper and why it’s revolutionary. That being said, our attitudes toward Cloud Computing have morphed in the last three years and here is a sample of how the industry perspective has evolved, I’ll use Larry Ellison as the example because he is frequently quoted.
This is a quote from Larry in 2008 when he famously questioned the whole Cloud paradigm: “The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop? We’ll make cloud computing announcements. I’m not going to fight this thing. But I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud.”Even more fun to watch is Ed Zander’s the interview with Larry at the Churchill Club in 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmXJSeMaoTY . Now here he is at Oracle Open World in 2010, just last fall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ0jjdp_ZUM&feature=fvwrel. By this time he had to do what he said he would do, make Cloud Computing announcements and either get on the bandwagon or be left behind.
Again, while I submit that not much is new in the Cloud Computing model what I do think is new are the devices that allow you to get to the Cloud, the process you may use to get there and what you will be able to do once you establish your presence. Where I think the Cloud may really make a difference is in one’s ability to scale up and down quickly, have access to instances as needed and to provide temporary storage and bandwidth for specific periods of time. For individuals, small businesses, start ups and companies needing to scale up quickly for specific periods it may be invaluable.
With all the recent data breeches and outages we need to be cautious and make sure that as we roll out applications in the Cloud security is deployed at every step of the process. We need to make sure we understand the agreements that we have to sign and what terms need to be negotiated to protect the end user. While the impact of Cloud Computing may be very beneficial in the long run we may have to kiss a lot of frogs and endure a lot of hype along the way. That’s not really that new to the computer industry. What is new is that it is now reaching the general public and small businesses that may not have experienced this process before. If you have signed a Cloud contract or have had personal experience of any kind, I would love to hear from you.
Ditka Reiner is the CEO and founder of Reiner Associates, Inc., a consultancy specializing in third-party contract negotiations and vendor management. She holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in education and psychology and has more than 20 years experience in information technology.
Ditka’s IT experiences cover a range of specialties including application development, operation management and distributed and mainframe change management. During the 18 years she spent at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Companies (FFIC) she worked in application development and was responsible for automating forms and policy issuance documents and other innovative work in operations and contract management. One of Ditka’s noted accomplishments was to be among the first to centralize the IT acquisition process for the organization. In this role she developed extensive experience negotiating a wide range of complex software, service printing and other innovative work in operations and contract management and outsourcing contracts. She received numerous awards and national visibility as she became a champion of innovative acquisition solutions and lectured on the impact of strategic negotiations for the organization.
An expert in the field of application software and outsourcing, Ditka saw the need for experts to work with companies to implement best practices and in 1999 founded Reiner Associates Inc, a consultancy specializing in third-party contract negotiations and vendor management. Ditka continues to lecture and teach as her time permits. An advisor to a number of start-ups, Ditka is also a negotiation coach and mentor and is a leading expert in and assisting companies in set-up and development of all aspects of procurement organizations.
Ditka has been a lecturer at GUIDE, XPLOR, CAUCUS, Gartner’s SWAMI & IT Asset Management Conferences, IACCM, the American Conference Institute, National Conference and Research Group, West Legalworks and the Haas Business School. Ditka also provides advanced educational classes and workshops as her schedule permits. She can be reached at email@example.com.
George E. Krauter
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