For many in enterprise IT, cloud computing seems like a dream come true: There's no need to spend your days negotiating with hardware and software vendors, and you don't have to worry about running out of space in the data center.
However, as a new technology, cloud computing is missing pieces, and you must take them into account as you move forward, or not, with your cloud implementations. Right now, I see three large holes that need to be filled; let's examine each.
[ Stay on top of the current state of the cloud with InfoWorld's special report, "Cloud computing in 2012." Download it today! | Also check out our "Private Cloud Deep Dive," our "Cloud Security Deep Dive," our "Cloud Storage Deep Dive," and our "Cloud Services Deep Dive." ]
Service governance addresses the management of cloud computing services. These mechanisms need to allocate services to authorized users, provide service discovery, and enforce pre-determined policies.
You can find technology providers that solve this problem, but most cloud providers don't know who they are. Even worse, enterprise IT may be in the dark as well. At some point, they will reach the tipping point of cloud services to manage, and service governance will have to be retrofitted.
Service provisioning is related to service governance in that you allocate resources (such as cloud services) for use by a consumer for a period of time. Typically, it involves some sort of automated approach, such as an API.
The current approaches and mechanisms around service provisioning are all over the place. Some force manual provisioning where the servers need to be restarted, and others provide sophisticated autoprovisioning. We desparately need a strategy for this very important aspect of cloud computing.
Service-level security refers to the ability to provide secure access to fine-grained cloud services, as well as the ability to define to whom, why, and how each service is accessible. For most cloud providers, it's an all-or-nothing proposition. At the moment, it's impossible to manage service identities, just clusters of virtual or physical servers. Cloud providers and cloud consumers both need to get much better at this.
Let's get to work on these issues.
This article, "Mind the gaps: 3 missing pieces in cloud computing," 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.