Beware the false cloud

25 Oct 2010

By Ken McElrath

It will soon be Halloween 2010, and the tricksters are on the prowl.

Again.

Just two years ago, Skoodat launched the first cloud computing platform for education, when few had even heard of the cloud. Now it seems every IT vendor offers a so-called "cloud" solution. The truth is, most are merely using the cloud-computing phenomenon to rebrand their offerings.

"Beware of the false cloud. The false cloud is not efficient," said Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com CEO at a conference in southeast Asia. "Salesforce.com's 77,000 customers run on 3,000 servers spread over three data centers globally," he said, adding that, "theoretically, 77,000 companies of varying sizes would require at least 100,000 servers to run their CRM (customer relationship management) systems."

Benioff went on to demonstrate that authentic cloud solutions — not the so-called "private clouds" being pitched by legacy providers — can deploy with 97 percent less infrastructure. That equates to massive scalability and massive savings.

An Amazon Web Services executive, Andy Jassy, confirmed Benioff's sentiments, saying that internal or private cloud infrastructures do not carry the same value propositions as authentic cloud computing and still require companies to dedicate staff and power costs to maintaining a data center. According to Jassy, organizations can't keep up with service requests from users because their outdated software, running on on-premise hardware, cannot keep up. He named Microsoft SharePoint, Lotus Notes and Oracle Siebel as examples.

Both executives were contrasting the authentic cloud model (like Skoodat) against traditional on-premise software. The real cloud, unlike the false cloud, does not require organizations to invest in any hardware, maintenance, or upgrade licenses.

Cloud computing should be a treat, not a trick.

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