That's the sort of false choice a hyped concept conjures. You're either all in for cloud computing right now, or you're clinging to the last vestiges of a bygone era. Ya don't want to be the last one with a horse and buggy, do ya?
Here's the bottom line: Don't worry if "cloud" is low on your priority list. You're in good company. InformationWeek Analytics asked 370 of you to rank factors impacting data center operations for 2010. At the top of the list: constrained budgets, storage growth and server virtualization. Dead last: cloud computing.
In that same survey we asked about moving to public and private clouds. Only 9 percent responded that they were either using or considering public cloud services, while 19 percent were using or considering private clouds. Thirty-nine percent said that public clouds would never be used by their organization at all, and 24 percent said they wouldn't consider private clouds. I'd never say never, but I think this represents healthy skepticism and a pretty typical IT evolutionary process. Evolution takes time.
The first and biggest problem with cloud computing is that it's an ill-defined term. There are the "as a service" definitions, which include software, infrastructure and platform. Each of these has a very different business value proposition. Sweeping these concepts together as "cloud computing" leaves us with more questions than answers. Then there's the public, private and hybrid cloud definitions, each of which implies something different, too. Because of the variety of definitions, it's impossible to have a serious conversation about your monolithic cloud computing strategy. So let's avoid the term and look at some of the genres I've mentioned.