In one of my last blogs, I talked about why the concept of Cloud Computing has taken hold now and what's involved from a technical and non-technical standpoint. Cloud Computing sounds so easy, so all companies should just do this, right? Wrong. There are perspectives out there that say "we aren't ready for this yet." And people should respect these perspectives. There is a lingering concern about outsourcing of key data by IT departments and whether the data would be "safe." That's why I say whether the march is inexorable or not. The first successful hosting apps that I remember were really outsourcing and hosting of the website. Security of key data wasn't as big an issue since, well, what you're putting on the website is for all to see. Let's take a basic enterprise application, such as voice mail. Is voice mail something that should be totally secure? It's not something for me to answer since it depends on your company, depends on your job, and depends on who is leaving you voice mails. We've seen some famous people recently who wished voice mails didn't become public.
So let's look at the data you have on premise in your office. Is the data there really more secure than in some big hosted "cloud" facility? That's also really hard to say, as it likely depends on each specific facility. I have read many instances in the newspaper relating to break-ins at some office where computers are stolen, and on those computers are employee social security numbers and the like. On the other hand, Los Angeles decided to move it's email to Google and was met with some criticism due to security concerns. Both are real issues and both will remain valid. Data is not automatically more secure on your premise compared to a "cloud" facility though.
Additionally, there are still issues to be worked regarding interoperability. If you create an application using Infrastructure as a Service, and you call on some remote "function" as I called it above, what if that company goes out of business and the "function" disappears? What if some other "function" suddenly replaces it out of the blue, but it's not exactly the same? All of a sudden, your application may not work, or may not work as it used it, and you'd be somewhat flummoxed by it all.
And, with regards to uptime, if you are sharing a computer system through virtualization with other applications, or simply being in a facility and the facility has power issues, someone else's problem may affect you. So it's not all nirvana.
And finally, if you are a fan of The Terminator movies, Skynet is the epitome of Cloud Computing. From Software as a Service to Machine to Machine computing to Machine thinking to Machines as a Service, The Terminator movies show a possible ending to all this Cloud Computing. The Cloud gets smart and The Cloud wants to be the master. So let's all beware of Cloud Computing.
My point is, there will always be good reasons for people to use Cloud Computing, and there are always going to be good reasons for people to use premise computing. As time goes on though, Cloud Computing becomes more and more of an option. It's certainly more of an option now than it was five years ago, and it will be even more of an option in five years than it is today.