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...