But Hoy sees potential for the community cloud. According to a Department of Health and Human Services report, there have been 385 data breaches, the vast majority of which have been lost or stolen physical materials, such as laptops and paper records. "Most of those could be eliminated if we transition healthcare data into a cloud so it's no longer stored on site," he says.
Other community cloud vendors focus on the distinguishing features of their offerings too. For example, CFN Services, which focuses its efforts on providing cloud-based IaaS offerings for financial services companies, recently launched its Global Financial Services Cloud. Financial firms want low-latency connections between their operations and the data centers where their cloud-based IaaS offerings are managed, says CFN CEO Mark Casey. Based on its network of 70 partnering data centers around the country, including those near the financial capital of the world in New York, it provides access for financial firms that are looking for ultra-low latency cloud-based trading services. CFN already works with dozens of financial services companies, and he's hoping to expand the company's market share in cloud services with the new offering.
Haff, of Red Hat, says he expects more announcements like these in the future. Community clouds give vendors an opportunity to differentiate their offerings from competitors, while it gives users an opportunity to take advantage of cloud-based resources that are made specifically for the industry they work in. The biggest question, he says, is getting individual companies to buy in.
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.