Why users are switching to the cloud

At two different events dealing with cloud computing, attendees give a variety of reasons for considering the cloud, some good, some not so good

I'm on the road today. I started out presenting a keynote about the intersection of SharePoint and the cloud at the SharepointConference.org event in Baltimore. After that, I hit the rails and headed to New York City to check out the Cloud Computing Expo at the Javits Center (did you know Amtrak trains have Wi-Fi now?).

What's most interesting about this conference is the size. Although vendor focused, it's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen. The attendees are mostly people who "need to know what the cloud is" and are in search of vendors and consultants to help them move systems to cloud computing platforms, either public or private. As I walk around and ask people about their motives for being here, I'm starting to see a pattern in the answers, listed below:

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They are cutting our IT budget. This was, surprisingly, the most common response. Many attendees are looking at "doing more with less" and have been hit with a new zero-growth policy for IT. That is, the new data won't get built after all, so they have the option of leveraging cloud computing or telling everyone there's no more capacity. Unfortunately, constraints like this never yield effective results -- and whether or not cloud computing is in the mix, I fear the same will happen here.

It seems like the emerging way to do computing. This came in a close second. In other words, we're following the hype, and the hype is leading to the cloud. I would not say that strategic planning was a forte among memebers of this group.

We are moving our products to the cloud. Many traditional enterprise software vendors are making the move to cloud computing. I suspect it will be a rough journey for some, considering that they must continue to serve existing users, and it's not easy to move from an on-premise, single-tenant architecture to a virtualized, multitenant architecture. I suspect most won't get there without a significant amount of help, time, and money.

This article, "Why users are switching to the cloud," 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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