Storage 'Clouds' Gather Over SaaS

Cloud computing is a prerequisite for SaaS. But it's not an easy step for providers

February 15, 2008

2 Min Read
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By James Rogers, February 14, 2008 1:25 PM

EMC's apparent plan to develop "storage cloud" supporting applications such as SAP as a service is a shrewd move at a time when CFOs are nervously eyeing their technology budgets.

Cloud computing uses a distributed collection of hardware to support software services for end-users. You need a cloud to offer software as a service (SaaS) -- get it?

The idea of cloud computing, and the attendant SaaS outgrowth, should resonate at a time of growing economic uncertainty. Instead of throwing vast sums of cash at server and storage hardware to support their applications, users are now scoping the possibility of phoning up the nearest service provider.

But at least one analyst warns that building an extensive "cloud" strategy is harder than it might appear, even for EMC, which has refused to talk about its "cloud" efforts."I think that it will put EMC to the test," explains Dave Vellante, senior storage analyst at the Wikibon research group, highlighting the difficulties of shifting business models to deliver SaaS.

"There are challenges around role recognition, sales forces, funding for future projects, [and] there's fighting over resources and budget," he says. "These are not easy problems for organizations to sort out, and all those have to be reconciled."

Even IBM, which been offering "on demand" computing for a number of years, only announced its own "Blue Cloud" initiative four months ago and still seems to be feeling its way through these technology challenges.

So while cloud computing undoubtedly offers benefits to users by providing a springboard for SaaS, at this stage they're largely out in the ether. Making these technologies materialize is the next big internal challenge for vendors like EMC and IBM.

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  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • SAP AG

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