Cloud Connect Conference: Cloud Is Where The Web Was In 1997
Robert J. Mullins
March 17, 2010
Speakers at The Cloud-Connect Conference in Santa Clara, Calif -- billed as the first-ever tech conference devoted solely to cloud computing -- said cloud's development is at about the same place that the Internet was in 1997. "Large potential, a huge market, at the same time a lot of hype, a lot of uncertainty," said M.R. Rangaswami, co-founder of Sand Hill Group, a consulting firm for software companies. The three-day conference is produced by United Business Media, also the publisher of Network Computing.
Rangaswami was one of several speakers discussing a whole array of cloud computing issues such as strategy, choice of vendors, cloud standards, return-on-investment and security. Despite the many questions, Rangaswami said cloud adoption is expected to pick up. Sand Hill Group surveyed CIOs and other business executives and reported that about 70 percent of those surveyed said their company spends only about three percent of their information technology budgets on cloud services, in which they run software programs on the IT infrastructure of an outside cloud vendor rather than in their own data centers.
Projecting three years from now, the survey showed that 80 percent of those surveyed planned to spend from seven percent to 30 percent of their IT budgets in the cloud, Rangaswami said. "That is a huge increase in cloud adoption over the next few years," he said.
Because of security concerns about moving company data outside the firewall to the cloud, security software vendor McAfee used the Cloud Connect event to introduce its McAfee Cloud Secure program, which is intended to offer software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers tools to better secure their cloud deployments. The program includes certification services for cloud vendors, daily security audits and immediate remediation of identified vulnerabilities, bestowing the McAfee Secure trustmark on its cloud security offerings, said Scott Chasin, CTO of McAfee SaaS. McAfee said 87.5 percent of customers surveyed said security concerns were a primary issue for them in deciding whether to adopt cloud computing.
Much of the Cloud Connect event is devoted to learning more about different kinds of clouds, such as the difference between a public cloud outside an enterprise and a private cloud within an enterprise, or a hybrid cloud that includes both. In addition, while most businesses follow the SaaS model of accessing specific software applications from a cloud, there's also the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model and the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. To illustrate that there might be some confusion about cloud computing, Sand Hill Group's Rangaswami said his survey also asked respondents to name the top ten cloud vendors they could think of. They offered the usual names of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Cisco, but inexplicably, number ten was GoDaddy.com, a domain name registration service best known for its Super Bowl ads featuring attractive women. It turns out GoDaddy is more than domain name registration and Danica Patrick endorsements. A GoDaddy spokesman tells Network Computing the company also offers grid hosting, an Apple OS X virtual server, a cloud-hosted Web site builder, and a cloud-based e-commerce solution.