Let's not repeat the mistakes of Web history in the cloud

2013 may seem more like 1993 -- if we let the naysayers and hesitators triumph

I'm often told by those in the cloud computing industry that the rise of cloud computing is a new, unique phenomenon. I'm not sure that's completely true.

I've often pointed out in this blog that the rise of cloud computing has some parallels with the rise of the Web and the technology created to support the Web in the 1990s. There were clear mistakes made back then, and it appears that some of us are doomed to repeat them.

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The more obvious potential repeat is the pushback on cloud computing based on claims it is a fad and a security threat. This results in delayed acceptance and planning activities. Déjà vu: Many companies in the 1990s viewed the rise of the Web as a flash in the pan or something that would not last, as well as a "security threat." They did not embrace the Web or the emerging value of the technology.

As a result, many organizations ended up playing catch-up when they finally understood the potential of the early Web. However, many never made up that ground and suffered greatly as a result. Some even lost their market -- for example, newspapers, magazines, and bookstores.

Today, many people are pushing back on cloud computing as trendy and unsecure. Many of the Global 2000 companies refuse to even look at cloud computing technology. Moreover, many larger technology providers have done a poor job of retooling for opportunities around cloud computing.

I believe those same companies will end up playing catch-up in the next few years -- and many won't ever narrow the gap. It will be ironic and sad if the same company makes the same mistake twice, first in the Web and now in the cloud.

This is not to say that cloud computing is all that and a bag of chips. It's just another opportunity to do more with less, using better technology. The rise of the Web 20 years ago also provided us with a new platform. The traditional Web was primarily a standard mechanism for content distribution, providing an effective and inexpensive technology that replaced technology that was neither. In the same regard, cloud computing is proven to be a standard approach for using applications and infrastructure that's also proven to be effective and inexpensive.

There are obvious parallels, and we need to make sure we don't make the same mistakes twice.

This article, "Let's not repeat the mistakes of Web history in the cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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