The top 5 mistakes cloud vendors make -- and you should watch for

The cloud computing market is overheated, and many cloud providers are making some very avoidable blunders

As the cloud computing market continues to heat up, I'm seeing some very profound mistakes made by both established and emerging cloud computing providers. Watch out for these blunders as you explore possible cloud providers.

Cloud computing mistake No. 1: Not focusing on the APIs

Whether the vendor is providing applications, infrastructure, or platforms, their clouds need to provide API access. APIs should be required for everything from accessing a credit report, such as for a CRM provider, to provisioning a virtual server, such as for an infrastructure provider. Even social networking providers, such as Twitter and Facebook, provide exceptional APIs -- and that's typically the way we interact with them.

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Unfortunately, APIs are often an afterthought, and they exist as a subset of features the cloud provider offers -- or not at all. In the future, cloud providers will be defined by their APIs, so they'd better get good at them.

Cloud computing mistake No. 2: No integration strategy

The fact of the matter is that companies won't place their data in the cloud if there is no clear way to sync it back to on-premise systems. Cloud providers should not offer consulting engagements when you say the "bad" word "integration." Instead, they should offer you a predefined strategy and sets of technologies. That means having partnerships with the right technology vendors and a clear map for how to synchronize data from on-premise to cloud as well as from cloud to cloud.

Cloud computing mistake No. 3: Outage defensiveness

IT systems go down from time to time, and cloud computing providers are no exception. However, there seems to be a quick circling of the wagons when an outage occurs and no admission of the facts behind the issue, nor approaches to avoid the problem in the future. Providers shouldn't spin their mistakes. Instead, they should admit to them and learn from them. We'll understand.

Cloud computing mistake No. 4: Confusing SLAs

I can always tell that lawyers wrote these things, and like the user license agreements that we never can read completely when installing software, these SLAs need to be much easier to understand. Why can't they be in English?

Cloud computing mistake No. 5: Spinning standards

Everyone want standards, and cloud providers are certainly telling anyone that will listen that they are moving to standards. However, the action seems to be in writing the press releases, not actually adopting standards. They can't create standards by forming alliances and writing white papers; they actually need to figure out the details. And you need to keep holding their feet to the fire.

This article, "The top 5 mistakes cloud vendors make -- and you should watch for," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at

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