Cloud computing is not a trap

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I was reminded of an article from a few years ago where Richard Stallman, free software proponent, claimed that the “cloud was a trap!”  Further comments in the article made suggestions that it would be crazy to move your applications and data into the cloud, because you would be giving up all control to some private system.

Looking at the state of affairs of cloud offerings today, is it still a trap?

First off, examining the contention of proprietary systems seems to be a non-issue now.  When choosing your cloud provider, or building your own private cloud, you certainly can go with proprietary systems, or you can choose open systems.  With the OpenStack initiative and RedHat providing open cloud solutions, I think this point has been rendered moot.

Now I can understand concern about moving data from your network into the cloud.  Heck, it is scary isn’t it?  But the devil is always in the details.  Just because you are using someone else’s network does not mean it is not going to be protected.  This is where choosing WHAT to move, along with WHO to trust, is important.  Make the right choice and do what fits the needs of the business.

Really this is no different than when customers used IBM mainframes to run applications off-site. You just have to ensure that the data is sequestered and protected. Make sure to read your service level agreements and buy the right level of services.

With the current breadth of the cloud offerings out there, the customer is in the driver seat. It is a buyer’s market, so do your research and ensure you are getting what you want out of it. Some of the other comments in that article were that he had no idea what the cloud was. Well, the cloud is a pretty broad topic area, so educate yourself. I presume you will be surprised.

As with many buzzwords that sweep the computing industry, the smart choice is to make the thinking choice.  Think about your needs, your goals and what can get you there best within your risk guidelines and under budget.  If you think before you do your next IT project you will be better off making the right decision than jumping on something just because it is the buzzword.  I know many of us have experienced those kind of projects and hopefully everyone knows enough by now not to repeat it.

I believe the cloud is not a trap but an opportunity to bring flexibility to your IT needs.  You have a wide variety of solutions from cloud storage to software as a service.  The decision will not be scary if you plan it right.

What do you think?  Is the cloud a trap? Was it ever a trap?  If you have any questions leave a comment, or connect with me on twitter @JimBarnesRTP.

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