The data-integration buzzkill for cloud computing

The bad news is that you forgot about the data integration. The good news is that cloud computing is on your résumé

It's 3 p.m. on a Thursday, and you're in a meeting, discussing your recent cloud deployment. A major enterprise system is now cloud-borne, and you couldn't be happier. Your operational costs are reduced. Your risk has been shifted to the cloud computing provider. You now have access to on-demand capacity. Best of all, you can now put "cloud computing" on your résumé.

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But your euphoric feeling is soon broken by a voice from the back of the room, uttering these awful words: "What about integrating the data back in the enterprise? How is our data in the cloud going to sync up with our other core enterprise systems?"

You have a few options at this point: You can ignore this rabble-rouser and have him or her fired at the next possible opportunity. You can talk fast for the next 10 minutes, sprinkling in as many buzzwords as possible (I like "cloud-enablement" and "cloudonomics") and hoping that you can hypnotize the others into forgetting the question. Or you can fess up that you have no data-integration strategy, and it never occurred to you that one is needed.

I suspect most people will go for options 1 and 2, and almost never option 3.

As businesses continue to deploy cloud-based systems, many are ignoring the fact that there needs to be some mechanism to synchronize data to and from your cloud and the core enterprise systems. By not addressing this, you'll have a data integrality and/or master data management issue in short order -- an issue that will kill the value of your new cloud-based system before you receive the first invoice from your cloud provider.

I don't mean to sound flip here, but in many of the cloud projects that I see, data integration is an afterthought -- or more often, not a thought at all. While not sexy like cloud computing, a data-integration strategy needs to be within the foundation of your cloud computing plan. This includes cloud-to-enterprise and cloud-to-cloud. This integration needs to be innate to the architecture; it can't be something you're reminded of at the rollout meeting.

Oh well, at least that guy has "cloud computing" on his résumé. That will make it easy to find another job quickly.

This article, "The data-integration buzzkill for cloud computing," 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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