Cloud Computing – The Confusion

Over the last few months I have been monitoring IT professionals understanding of what cloud computing actually is. As part of my daily consulting activities and also from attendees when presenting the Learning Tree cloud computing course the results are interesting. IT and business professionals have so many different views of what cloud computing actually is – many incorrect. Such a lack of understanding often means ill informed decisions are being made by organisations on cloud computing and the benefits they could be leveraging from cloud computing are being missed.

It was interesting to see an article on Information Week that also confirmed my findings. The article surveyed organisations on their use of cloud computing, asking the questions based on respondents roles in the organisation. What they found was that there was a large discrepancy in the answers based on the respondents role in the organisation. Of the respondents 40% of upper managers believed their organisations are using cloud computing, 30% of middle managers did and 20% or IT staffers did. This wide variation between IT staffers and management can be primarily attributed to the lack of appreciation of what actually comprises cloud computing.

So why is there such a lack of understanding of cloud computing ? Mainly because it is actually so many different things but equally there is much being written on cloud computing by people who do not understand what cloud computing actually is and so are misinforming their readers. As an example of the lack of understanding, just today, a well respected IT director said to me “so why is Amazon entering this Web hosting business when there are so many Internet service providers out there already ?”.

Because cloud computing can make such a dramatic difference to an organisation in so many different ways(both business and technical) it is vital that an organisation has a correct solid foundation of what cloud computing actually is. So how can this knowledge be gained ? Learning Tree has an excellent 3 day course that will accelerate you on the right track. For time constrained professionals, the half day summary can clear the smog and start the creative thinking of how the cloud can benefit your organisation. I hope to see you on one of these events in the near future.


2 Responses to “Cloud Computing – The Confusion”

  1. 1 Bubba July 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Excellent points Chris! The other day I read an article where someone was authoritatively making a direct head to head comparison between Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. I have always thought of AWS as IaaS and Azure as PaaS so it is not an apple to apples comparison. Have I been confused about that? Is there an easy way to distinguish between IaaS and PaaS? Does it matter? Thanks.

    • 2 cczarneckiltre July 21, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks Bubba. Often PaaS and IaaS are difficult to distinguish. A ket differentiator is who is responsible for the updates and maintenance of the core platform software. With Azure and Google App engine, there is no access to the operating system for instance – thats the case in PaaS. In Amazon EC2 once you get your server, you are responsible for all aspects of operating system, platform software such as database servers etc – thats IaaS – lower level with more responsibility for maintenance and updates but also more control.

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