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BLOG: The great cloud computing pricing debate

Bernard Golden | Nov. 29, 2011
A continuing controversy in cloud computing is its putative cost benefits; specifically, whether public cloud computing can provide cost advantages over computing carried out within a company's own data center.

Recognize the pressure isn't going to let up. Just because you got a token project up this year doesn't mean "the cloud thing" is over. We recently worked with one large enterprise whose CTO announced his goal was to be 100 percent cloud-based in 18 months. That may be unrealistic, but don't imagine for a minute that it won't be on his agenda every month from now on.

In a piece published over two years ago

addressing the turmoil going on in the newspaper industry, Clay Shirky, using the rise of movable type printing as an example, noted that while in retrospect the outcome of revolutions seem obvious and neatly implemented, during the revolution, everything seems chaotic; the outcomes are completely unknown (and many times not even considered part of the predicted outcomes); the criteria by which success (or failure) will be judged are not clear; and the experience of the participants is disconcerting and disorienting.

I hear many people who are heavily involved in cloud computing voice the opinion that they wish the discussions regarding private vs. public, cloud security, SLAs, and so on would just go away. Each of them regards the questions as settled. What they fail to recognize is that for all participants in IT, cloud computing is this generation's movable type. It's clear that a revolution is underway, but the impact and outcome, for these participants, are far from established—even while the dislocation and disorientation are completely obvious. In such circumstances, the controversy is bound to continue. Following steps such as those outlined above give IT organizations practices that will stand them in good stead no matter how the times buffet them.

Bernard Golden is CEO of consulting firm HyperStratus, which specializes in virtualization, cloud computing and related issues. He is also the author of "Virtualization for Dummies," the best-selling book on virtualization to date.


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