I recently gave a presentation on procurement best practices for DAM (Digtial Asset Management) at the Creatasphere conference in LA. This gave me an opportunity to sit in on a panel discussion between some Hollywood heavyweights on the topic of long-term archiving of rich media.
What could have been a snoozefest in fact turned into a full-on attack of the value and promise of Cloud Computing. At one point the panelists had the audience laughing out loud at the "joke."
Some quotes from the panel:
"Everybody wants cloud like access to content, but they also want tangible ownership of their content"
"The people in Egypt had a hard time reaching the Cloud recently..."
"The Library of Congress putting everything into the Cloud is remarkably naive"
"There is justifiable and important paranoia regarding the Cloud if you are an archivist"
I can't say I am in agreement with the panelists. At The Real Story Group, we ourselves use various hosted options, several of which leverage a true Cloud-based infrastructure. You should notice, though, that like most pundits, our firm is much smaller than the typical enterprise. Nevertheless, we regularly recommend hosted offerings for customers where it makes a decent fit.
That said, I don't see customers clamoring for Cloud options, or buying into the dream to the extent vendors and their paid-for pundits would have you believe. Yes adoption is growing rapidly, but so does anything from a low base point. Cloud most definitely has its place and its value, and I for one happily champion those, but the visceral resistence to the very idea in some quarters stems from equally valid reasons.
Consider Google GMail, the poster child for Cloud. In the past year alone GMail has had the following "adventures:"
- Erased 150,000 users emails and contacts in Feb 2011
- Multiple outages in 2009/10
- Exposure of 176 million user contacts with the ill-fated launch of Buzz
I single out GMail simply because it is by far the most quoted Cloud-based application in any corporate discussion, even though it is a full-blown SaaS application, rather than a more narrowly-focused, infrastructurally-oriented Cloud service.
The Cloud is no silver bullet. As long as Cloud -- in all its various and sometimes opaque incarnations -- gets pushed to customers as the answer to all their dreams, buyers will remain rightly skeptical.
We'll be undertaking much more research in the coming year into Cloud, particularly the criteria you need to consider when comparing on-premise, off-site, and hybrid options across various application layers. But the one thing we won't be doing is cheerleading for one delivery method over another, since as of today they all have their rightful place.