Cloud Bursting: dispelling cloud computing myths

  • Cloud Bursting: dispelling cloud computing myths

    Cloud computing has quickly gone from nebulous IT concept to a marketing term used in the popular lexicon. As companies like Microsoft have started dropping the term in even consumer-focused TV commercials, many people are now vaguely aware of “the cloud” and that it has something to do with how computer products and services are delivered. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a slew of misconceptions and outright myths when it comes to cloud computing. Understanding this still nascent IT trend can be confusing, but at its core, it is simply products and services delivered and consumed in real-time over the Internet. Here’s 10 myths about cloud computing worth more explanation.

    By Brian Jackson and Stephanie Overby,

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  • The Patriot Act is a cloud show-stopper

    Many Canadian firms pont to the Patriot Act as an excuse to not outsource IT projects or have data hosted in the U.S. A law enacted shortly following the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorism attacks, it gives American authorities sweeping powers without the need for transparency. That includes the ability to retrieve data stored on U.S. soil and scour it without the need to inform the owner of the data.It’s caused many software firms to take a different strategy when approaching Canadian firms about cloud technology. But the truth is that Canada’s surveillance authorities have similar access to such data using the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act. Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian has said that Canadian firms shouldn’t let the Patriot Act stop them, but conduct thorough due dilligence on all contracts signed with cloud providers.

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Hip Moms shout “to the cloud” when confronted with IT challenges

In the lead-up to the 2010 Christmas season, Microsoft released a new bevy of TV ads about its Windows Live services, featuring different characters saying “to the cloud” to solve different IT problems. A Mom goes “to the cloud” to fix a family photo, a family uses it to show Grandpa the family enjoying his Christmas presents, and a couple is entertained during a flight delay. Thankfully, this hasn’t caught on as a real saying in any quarters.

  • Cloud tech is always cheaper than internal IT

    The selling point of most cloud service providers is that you can save money by ditching all your expensive on premises equipment and going with their subscription pricing model. While that can be true, those analyses rarely take into the consideration the total cost of ownership. While public cloud has a low startup cost, and buying IT for on premises solutions a high initial cost, you will eventually pay down the on premises investment, while cloud subscriptions are ongoing. Also, cloud services may require the same sort of maintenance and support costs that on premises solutions would.

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  • Everything on the Web is a cloud service

    Not everything on the Web is now a “cloud service.” Going back to IDC’s definition of cloud services, real-time delivery and consumption must be involved. Most Web content is still static information sitting on a hard drive somewhere that is waiting for you to call up the right address and view it with a browser. There’s nothing being created when you view this slideshow, for example, it’s already existing on a server. There are many Web services that do constitute “cloud” services that many use every day though, such as Google search, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

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  • Data in the cloud is less secure

    People are afraid of losing control,î says Leandro Balbinot, CIO of Brazilian retailer Lojas Renner. But “just because your data is somewhere else, doesn’t mean it’s lessóor moreósecure,” says Accenture CIO Frank Modruson. Test, monitor and review. That’s the only way to mitigate risk in or out of the cloud.

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  • It’s always easy to set up

    “Vendors will always tell you it’s a turnkey implementation,” says Carmen Malangone, global director of information management for Coty. “But moving customized systems to the cloud takes timeóeight months or more to standardize and test in the new environment.” And modify cloud systems with care. “Configuration can quickly become customization and each upgrade will be a major headache,” says Malangone.

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  • The Cloud is new technology

    As Rackspace Hosting explains it: “Cloud as a term is new, but the concepts and requisite technologies have been evolving for years (many years in some cases). Cloud computing continues to emerge as a game-changing technology, with high adoption rates and investment. Gartner Research predicts that by 2012, 80% of Fortune 1000 enterprises will be paying for some form of cloud computing services. Cloud computing is here to stay.” Before vendors referred to “cloud computing” they used terms like “software as a service” to describe the same technology.

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  • Only smaller firms can benefit from the cloud

    From Rackspace Hosting: “The benefits of cloud computing apply equally to enterprises as they do to SMBs, startups and consumers. Since enterprises are typically more risk averse, new technologies are generally adopted by small business first. That said, overall cloud adoption rates are increasing substantially and we are seeing enterprise adoption today. Expect to see a significant inflection point in the next several years where cloud is a standard enterprise fixture.”

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  • The cloud can do anything

    From Rackspace Hosting: “Not all applications are suitable for cloud computing. While the Cloud is here to stay, it will not replace traditional hosting or on-premise deployments, but rather complement them. There will always be situations where security requirements, flexibility, performance or control will preclude the cloud. In those cases, a hybrid solution involving both cloud and either traditionally hosted or on-premise servers may make sense. Beware of vendors who promote pure cloud for ALL applications.”

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  • The future of computing is the cloud

    While cloud services are increasingly being adopted by businesses and consumers, Web-delievered services will never be able to entirely replace client-side computing, and likely will not even become more common. There’s just no need to use the cloud unless you’re trying to connect with other people in disparate locations, delivering real-time data, or enabling a team with certain tools for collaboration. You can keep Solitaire on your desktop PC for now. Although Mozilla might think otherwise, with its Boot-to-Gecko phones relying entirely on the Web for its features and apps.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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