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What exactly is cloud computing?

February 17, 2010

A surprising number of information technology professionals are still asking this question. Despite the use of the term in news articles and marketing collateral far and wide, it appears the exact definition of “cloud computing” is still not generally understood.

As Countdown’s regular readers will know, last year’s Launchpad Europe IT Security Index found that security concerns influenced organisational enthusiasm for adopting cloud technologies. Three months later, that research is still gaining media attention, now with the national press. We wonder if this may be because cloud computing (and its security) has officially entered the ICT industry’s collective consciousness. If you weren’t wondering what the cloud was a year ago, you’re sure to be looking into it as 2010 gets into full-swing. An article recently published by the Independent explains the basics of the cloud and cites Launchpad’s cloud security research on: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/what-is-cloud-computing-and-how-do-i-use-it-1896368.html

As technical director Mike Burkitt said in a previous announcement on the research, organisations with in-house technical capabilities and good financial situations could develop their own private clouds, thus taking the security of the cloud environment into their own hands. Burkitt pointed out that “developing your own cloud-based system gives you choice, power and flexibility. Many companies, including IBM, Novell, Unisys and others, have already begun reaping the financial, business and security benefits of tailoring their own private cloud environments.”

The full executive summary of Launchpad Europe’s research will be published within the next week or so. Until then, we’ve managed to finagle a sneak peek at answers to the cloud modalities question:

Public cloud usage tied with private cloud usage at the close of 2009—but will that trend stay the same in 2010, as organisations become more comfortable with cloud technology? Or will we see increased adoption of the tailored, private cloud environments of the likes of IBM and Unisys?

Either way, expect private clouds to be at the top of the ICT media’s agenda this year.

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