Why does cloud computing cause so much vehemence?

When I'm presenting a cloud computing survey or research on suppliers of cloud computing services to Kusnetzky Group clients or at a conference, I often find that there are several members of the audience who are vehement that cloud computing will never work, is the work of Satan or will lead organizations into untenable positions. While I agree there are concerns about security, data protection, reliability, availability service level guarantees and the like, the proper use of technology, processes and procedures can and do address all but the most difficult problems. I think something else is going on since the energy level (and sometimes the volume of the conversation) is so high.

Most organization's have segmented management and operations of data center facilities and IT management and operations into a number of interdependent, but separate silos. I've observed environments in which each of the data center components was managed by a different team, often reporting to different places within the organization. In some organizations, the only place where all of the lines of management come together is in the office of the CEO.

What occurs to me is that there are a lot of jobs on the line and facilities and IT folks fear that the move to cloud computing, like other forms of outsourcing, might mean that their responsibilities will be changed, the opportunity to grow within the organization will be sharply reduced and, even worse, they might be shown P.T. Barnum's "egress."

The decision to move towards cloud computing, however, is often made for business, not technical reasons. Business decision makers see that only the largest of the large organizations could hope to acquire real estate, electricity, networking infrastructure, servers, memory, storage, air conditioning equipment or power management equipment at a lower cost than many service providers. Furthermore, only the largest organizations would have the breadth and depth of IT, security, and operations expertise on staff.

The next thought these decision makers have is "why should we continue to pay the full price for everything in the data center instead of outsourcing our operation and paying only for what the organization needs?"

Those of us who have lived through the adoption cycles of mainframes, minicomputers, distributed systems, client/server computing, and now, cloud computing, know that once an approach finds its way into the organization, it stays around for a very long time. New technology or new approaches often ride into the organization when new applications are adopted. Older technology stays around until it no longer serves the needs of the organization or until it is entirely replaced by a new approach.

It would be wise of IT and facilities practitioners to focus on where and how new technology or new approaches can be of use to the organization rather than trying to fight them. Mainframes, minicomputers (now called midrange systems), distributed computing, client/server computing and the like are still found in nearly all medium to large organizations. They didn't go away when a new approach or a new application was adopted.

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