How cloud providers can allay IT's fear of abandonment

Yahoo's offloading of Delicious is another rare but powerful example of why IT is afraid to trust the cloud

With Yahoo set to offload Delicious, the cloud once again takes it on the chin as skeptics point to another instance where cloud computing left -- or could leave -- users high and dry.

There have already been some well-published issues with cloud providers pulling the carpet out from under their users, such as EMC's shutdown of Atmos due to conflicts with the company's other sales channels. More recently, Amazon Web Services kicked WikiLeaks off its cloud. The fundamental tenant -- and risk -- of cloud computing is that you're placing your trust in an organization you don't control.

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Although instances such as Delicious or Atmos are few and far between, the ensuing PR nightmares hurt cloud computing providers that are trying to sell infrastructure, application, and development platforms as a service to nervous IT leaders. IT could try to address these issues today with a well-written SLA, but many cloud providers won't sign unless the agreements are weighed heavily in their favor.

Perhaps it's time for emerging providers to pull together and make strides in promoting this type of computing as a safe and secure alternative to traditional enterprise computing, not as a risky trend. The easy answer: All cloud computing providers should commit to not shutting down services without a huge amount of notice, and they should have a plan for migration to other services that meet their needs. Lacking that kind of commitment, cloud providers will have a hard time convincing enterprises to trust them.

This article, "How cloud providers can allay IT's fear of abandonment," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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