A farewell to clouds

I've really enjoyed writing for you for the past 7 months, but it's time for me to do a little less writing about cloud computing and a whole lot more working in the cloud

Catchy, huh? Alas! This is my last InfoWorld Cloud Computing post. I've really enjoyed writing for you for the past seven months, but my mounting responsibilities mean it's time for me to bow out. I'm going to do a little less writing about cloud computing and a whole lot more working in the cloud. In fact I've just posted a "Down-to-Earth look at Cloud Computing" podcast on BMC's new Cloud Computing Community.

Never fear. Neither I nor InfoWorld's Editor in Chief Eric Knorr would leave you in a lurch. David S. Linthicum (Dave) will be taking the helm, and man does he bring a lot of insight. Dave is an internationally recognized industry expert and thought leader. He's authored or coauthored 13 books on computing, including the best-selling "Enterprise Application Integration" (Addison Wesley). He's also a well-known keynote speaker on the conference circuit and works with several cloud computing startups. The column couldn't be in better hand. Before I sign off, I'll leave you with three things I would like you to take away from my time here:

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1. Keep the hope; lose the hype.

It's really easy to get caught up in all of the hype surrounding cloud computing, and just as easy to lose hope in it when you've weeded through the overwhelming amount of crap that's out there. As I've said before, continuing to market cloud computing as the next magic bullet will guarantee dissatisfaction. We need a Windex-clear definition to take this buzzword from cotton candy to New York cheesecake. Eric has raised this flag several times in his blog, going so far as to offer the industry a standard definition: "the use of commercial computing services, including software-as-a-service applications, delivered over the Internet." It's up to us to the community to make this tangible and concrete.

2. Be realistic about what you're getting into.

Once I asked readers: Does cloud computing eliminate complexity? Sure, cloud computing is a celebrated "new" technology, but we got ourselves all wrapped up in it before we understood its repercussions. Do yourself a favor and examine cloud offerings against some realistic metrics for what you and your organization consider success. And don't forget the Law of Unintended Consequences. Moving components from your internal infrastructure to the cloud probably won't reduce complexity, just brush it under the rug. "Out of sight, out of mind" sounds good until it's the foundation for your IT infrastructure.

3. Cloud computing isn't evil.

Privacy is important, but it's not the only issue. Regulatory compliance and a host of other potential challenges face companies deploying cloud technologies, but most of these will be worked out over time. Cloud computing isn't inherently good or evil; technology is technology. Its effects on your organization are a direct result of the planning and management you put into its deployment and operation.

There's my short list. Now I sign off for the last time. Thanks to Eric and InfoWorld for giving me the opportunity to participate in this community, and thanks to Dave Linthicum for stepping in to take over this column. If you're interested in following what's next for me just add me on Twitter, or drop me a line.

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