Is cloud computing an overhyped technology?

"Over hyped" is in the eye of the beholder.

Cloud Computing (specifically SaaS) provides a great option for small businesses to be able to get access to software solutions that they would never otherwise be able to afford due to the prohibitive cost of entry - servers, support, staff, etc.

And getting the word out to a lot of small businesses takes time and a lot of avenues.

So, it may seem over-hyped to those of us who work with this stuff on a regular basis, but for small business owners who spend their days just "keeping the joint running", it's necessary to keep it in front of them - eventually they will look up and see they have options to make things easier/better/faster/cheaper.

But there is no question; it is being over hyped. The marketing people are making promises that cannot be delivered. I would suggest that in many cases, they are using the phrase incorrectly as well.

In many cases, the technology is being sold as a very generic solution to problems that actually require very specific answers, and Cloud Computing may not be appropriate at all.

Having said that, true Cloud Computing (public, private or hybrid) does offer some real benefits and could be used very effectively by a lot of businesses of different sizes. I would argue that it should be considered another weapon in the IT arsenal; not a replacement for the other technologies.

As far as it is actually a real technology - yes definitely overhyped.
But the more I think about it, the less I am convinced about 'cloud' being a real technology. It is more a conceptual change in the way delivery is done.

A private cloud can just as well be a normal off-site data center, just as they have been around for forever. Public clouds have already been around for ages as well (think of the way MSN has been around).
The thing is that the technologies we CAN offer both on- and off-premises have evolved in such a way that people are now starting to refer to it as 'cloud'.

This does not mean that we should not be excited about this evolution in service delivery. I personally have my doubts about the integration of hosted cloud-based services as opposed to the freedom and flexibility of a personally maintained system. This particularly if you would think of a multi-tenant unified communications environment...

I guess it's the usual answer in anything network-related: it all kind of depends...

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MichaelThomas
30 May 2012, 7:47 p.m.

This is my experience of cloud servers, we had a dedicated hosted radius server for many years with Rackspace very expensive £470 per month but we could forget about it they did it all, it hat Redhat 4 as the OS. Rackspace are a top company for hosted services I must say, no down time of the server in 5 years.
Late last year I received a ticket stating that OS support ends at the end of Feb after me wasting a bit of time and contacted them about options for upgrading I was only left with a migration to a cloud server option. I was then passed to a computer genius (in my mind) who assisted in every way in upgrading the OS and the free radius part of the server from a 32 bit version to a 64 bit version, extensive trouble shooting and synchronisation of the old and new databases. This did take quite some time, all due to me as I also had technical issues to overcome but at the end of the day, it only cost me the price of running a cloud server and a dedicated server at the same time for this period, a few hundred pounds.
The main part of the story is that I'm now only paying £250 per month for the hosted service on a cloud server which for any small business is a lot of money saved and the service is top quality.
One unfortunate issue was that 4 weeks into the new service I received an email that the service was down and the server needed a chassis change but within 5 hours the service was up and running and quite a bit of compensation was paid for the down time.
So for small businesses that do not employ an IT person it is sometimes cheaper to pay a bit more as the service/support you receive is first class from a company such as Rackspace and you have the knowledge that your server will be online at all times and the data is correctly backup.
I hope this did not come across as a sales pitch, as it is not intended, just my experience of a cloud server if you want any further clarification please contact me on info@pioneeringnetworks.com.

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