Cloud computing: Dare to be boring

As long as cloud providers need to make noise over features and functions, we haven't achieved the goal of utility computing

Cloud computing is one of the most exciting technologies to come along in a very long while. This is largely due to the race in the marketplace to provide the most innovative cloud features and functions. It's a race to keep up with the hype; it's also a race to stay or become relevant. However, could all that excitement be masking the true purpose of cloud computing?

Cloud computing should have the objective to provide a core foundation of infrastructure and business processes on demand, and we should use those resources to drive our business. If cloud computing works correctly, the storage and compute systems it provides, or the applications it serves up, should function like any other utility we use: It should just work, and eventually, we don't even think much about it. In other words, it should become boring.

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The emerging cloud computing space is far from boring these days. The feature race will likely go on for years; those looking to leverage public or private clouds are in for a wild ride in terms of how quickly change comes.

The problem is that IT departments in most large enterprises or small businesses don't have the time or resources to be technology fanboys. They don't monitor the cloud computing market in real time. They have to keep their businesses running smoothly and use whatever technology they need to make that happen. I call this group the silent majority.

The silent majority is more than happy to consume cloud computing services, as long as they function as promised with little or no maintenance hassles or unexpected costs. As one CIO put it to me, "If I know the name of the technology provider, that's bad. That means it is not doing its job and keeps coming on my radar. Those technology providers I don't hear about are the ones providing value."

Cloud computing does not bring new technology patterns to the world of computing; rather, it changes how we consume that technology. Cloud computing providers may want to get over themselves as the end-all, be-all way to reinvent computing, and instead get to work to neither be seen nor heard while consistently adding value -- perhaps even dare to be boring.

This article, "Cloud computing: Dare to be boring," 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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