What cloud computing can and can't do

Kill enterprise architecture, provide infinite scalability, cost pennies per day -- these are just a few of our overblown expectations for the cloud

A recent post by Deloitte asked whether cloud computing makes enterprise architecture irrelevant: "With less reliance on massive, monolithic enterprise solutions, it's tempting to think that the hard work of creating a sustainable enterprise architecture (EA) is also behind us. So, as many companies make the move to cloud computing, they anticipate leaving behind a lot of the headaches of enterprise architecture."

In short, we make a lot of money from consulting on enterprise architecture, so please don't take my enterprise architecture away. It's analogous to saying that some revolutionary new building material makes structurally engineering irrelevant. Even if that were the case, I still wouldn't go into that building.

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I'm disturbed that the question is being asked at all. We should've evolved a bit by now, considering the amount of time cloud computing has been on the scene. However, silly questions such as this will continue to come up as we oversell the cloud; as a consequence of these inflated claims, I expect we'll be underdelivering pretty soon.

Cloud computing does not replace enterprise architecture. It does not provide "infinite scalability," it does not "cost pennies a day," you can't "get there in an hour" -- it won't iron my shirts either. It's exciting technology that holds the promise of providing more effective, efficient, and elastic computing platforms, but we're taking this hype to silly levels these days, and my core concern is that the cloud may not be able to meet these overblown expectations.

It's not politically correct to push back on cloud computing these days, so those who have concerns about the cloud are keeping their opinions to themselves. A bit of healthy skepticism is a good thing during technology transitions, considering that many hard questions are often not being asked. As much as I love the cloud, I'll make sure to hit those debates in this blog.

This article, "What cloud computing can and can't do," 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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