Five facts every cloud computing pro should know

Here are a few facts to keep in mind if you plan to implement a cloud computing project

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Though cloud computing is widely defined, it's difficult for those working with the technology to reach a common understanding around concepts that are important to the success of their projects. Here are five important ideas -- or perhaps just misunderstandings -- that those looking to move to cloud computing should understand.

1. Cloud computing is not virtualization. This seems to be a common misunderstanding, so it's worth stating: Virtualized servers do not constitute a cloud. Cloud computing means auto provisioning, use-based accounting, and advanced multitenancy, capabilities well beyond most virtualization solutions. Many of you need to clip this paragraph out and put it in your wallets or purses as a reminder.

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2. Cloud computing requires APIs. Those who put up websites and call them "cloud sites" need to understand that part of the value of cloud computing is API access to core cloud services. This means both public and private. Without an API, it's hardly a cloud.

3. Moving to a cloud is not a fix for bad practices. There is no automatic fix for bad architecture or bad application design when moving to cloud computing. Those issues need to be addressed before the migration.

4. Security is what you make of it, cloud or no cloud. While many are pushing back on cloud computing due to security concerns, cloud computing is, in fact, as safe as or better than most on-premises systems. You must design your system with security, as well as data and application requirements in mind, then support those requirements with the right technology. You can do that in both public or private clouds, as well as traditional systems.

5. There are no "quick cloud" solutions. While many companies are selling so-called cloud-in-a-box type solutions, few out-of-the-box options will suit your client computing needs without requiring a load of customizations and integration to get some value out of them. Sorry to burst any bubbles.

This article, "Five facts every cloud computing pro should know," 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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