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Lessons from Cloudcamp UK – Four Great Reasons the Cloud Will Fail

March 16, 2010

Wow – last week was a thought-provoking one. Hot off the heels from my adventures at RSA the week before, I returned to London only to be shocked by some of the vendor community’s views on the Cloud [NB: strangely, I just misspelled it “the Clod.” Freudian slip, me thinks?]

Frankly, there seems to be a bit of self-delusion (or perhaps just confusion) about the issues of security around the Cloud. If our fears are legitimate, this will certainly be a case of “buyer beware,” as without a good consensus on how to keep customers’ data secure, those customers will not be queuing around the block to jump into the Cloud; or, should I say, push their data over the precipice and hope that the Cloud catches and it keeps it safe.

So my advice is this: if you don’t have an awesome security guy or gal on your team at a pretty senior level, get one NOW. The issue of security will not pass, and your cloud environment will not pass the muster unless you deal with it. It is an inconvenient truth, but one which if handled correctly will make this whole adventure not just a success but a profitable one for Cloud providers and users alike.

Next up was again a little (understatement) disagreement from one or two camps on standards. Oh for goodness sake, we know (believe me we do, after years skating around the likes of the SNIA and other standards bodies) that the vendor communities doesn’t love standards; after all, their widespread adoption in many sectors is seen as a competitive advantage-killer.

However, if you can’t assure your community that data can be secured to meet a certain benchmark – and also that you are working to make it portable – you will reduce the likelihood that serious IT users can feel safe jumping onto the Cloud bandwagon.

Here comes the next Cloud killer (and great news, it is homegrown for us here in the UK) – the Digital Economy Bill, which is going through the Houses of Parliament at present (last round of amends #3 is here courtesy of @ZDnet_UK (via @superglaze).

In a nutshell, the Bill is designed to address copyright infringement in the digital space; however, a flipside of it is that if the Bill passes as it is, someone could pretty much click their fingers and shut down a Cloud provider overnight – think seizing replica Louis Vuitton handbags or fake Gucci watches. Just like with stolen goods and towed cars, the seized Cloud would be held in an impounded digital warehouse. So the Digital Economy Bill threatens to kill off the UK market for the Cloud – but never forget, my dears, that your data could be anywhere once it is in the Cloud baby. And if stuff like this happens here in the UK, it can happen anywhere. That means our Cloud dreams could one day be at the mercy of any government anywhere in the world. That risk is a real toughie to mitigate.

For the Brits in the audience, if this concerns you, you should contact you MP and/or MEP. For readers from elsewhere, it will be a development to watch closely.

Now for the fun little number 4.

I was lucky enough to have a great chat with @joebaguley (Quest Software) and @swardley (Ubuntu) about the cloud, and there seemed to a consensus on the actual use of the term “cloud”: this term may be the one thing that, well, makes the Cloud “cloudy.” Simon had an intriguing idea: “@swardley “cloud”, how about we go back to “computer utility” & also “a competitive market of computer utilities” (ca 1966-2007)”

So – what do you think? How should we refer to the Cloud? Does the Digital Economy Bill pose a serious threat to cloud computing?

Share your ideas with the Countdown team at countdown@launchpad-europe.com

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