The Myths, Hype and Reality of the Cloud

Jim Morin is Ciena’s Product Line Director focused on Cloud solutions.  Jim has been a member of a commission looking into recommendations for the use of Cloud technology in U.S. government and industry.

 

In March 2011, TechAmerica helped pull together a commission of experts from industry and academia to form recommendations on public policies for advancing the Obama Administration’s cloud-first strategy for government technology and for driving US cloud innovation.  Called the Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in US Deployment of the Cloud (CLOUD2), the group included members from companies such as Amazon, AT&T, IBM and Verizon.

Ciena was selected as one of the 71 commissioners (Steve Alexander – Ciena CTO) and deputies (myself) who were split into public and commercial working groups on various key topics such as: security, transnational data flows, infrastructure transformation, organizational change, buyer’s guide, transparency/accountability, and acquisition/budget/execution. 

Over the course of several months of conference calls and meetings, teams developed a report on the recommendations and a Buyer’s Guide.  The recommendations, which were unveiled today, include thoughts on how government should deploy cloud technologies and address policies that might hinder US leadership of the cloud in the commercial space.  The buyers guide and reference web site is available here

Part of the discussion centered on Cloud Myths, Hype and Reality as we attempted to sort out some of the confusing messages today around cloud computing.  For example:

On Cloud in IT

  • Myth – Cloud computing will not affect Government IT
  • Hype – Cloud is the coming of an unrivaled new age
  • Reality – The cloud concept is based on established technologies (that probably go back as far as time-sharing).  It is a fast-paced and complicated concept, so IT needs guidance and education to find the right path for their situation.

 

On Jobs

  • Myth – Government clouds will sacrifice IT jobs
  • Hype – Cloud does not negatively affect anyone
  • Reality – Certainly today, IT as well as every other organization and process, must be efficient to survive.  But the biggest reality is that cloud = opportunity.

 

On Security

  • Myth – Cloud is inherently less secure.
  • Hype – No worries with cloud security – they are the pros.
  • Reality – It depends – on the provider and the customer’s requirements and problems.  Many providers do offer best-in-class capabilities which are more affordable and up-to-date than most IT deployments.

 

On Affordability

  • Myth – Cloud is financially unmanageable.
  • Hype – Cloud is always cheaper.
  • Reality – It depends – like everything else, cloud deployments need to be financially justified, budgeted and managed.  Additional returns need to be considered for cloud’s inherent benefits of agility, accountability and deployment speed.
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