Taking the hype out of cloud computing

David Mitchell Smith/Gartner
08 Jan 2014

Cloud computing is no longer a new concept, and many organizations have been consuming cloud services for the past several years. The use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 will increase to become the bulk of new IT spending, according to Gartner.

While still a very visible and hyped term, I believe it has now clearly passed the phase of over enthusiasm and unrealistic projections. There are signs of fatigue, rampant 'cloudwashing' and disillusionment, particularly from highly visible failures such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple. Despite this, it remains a major force in IT.

What we are now seeing are businesses changing their buying behaviors. Improving efficiency, delivering operational results, reducing enterprise costs and improving IT applications, infrastructure and legacy, are all top business priorities for CIOs in Australia and New Zealand, according to Gartner's CIO Agenda Survey for 2013. ANZ CIOs ranked cloud computing as their number two technology priority this year, after mobility.

Although it is unlikely businesses will completely abandon on-premise models or soon buy complex, mission-critical processes as services through the cloud, there is a movement toward consuming services in a more cost-effective way and toward enabling capabilities that are not easily done elsewhere.

Gartner believes cloud computing will reach an important transitional point in 2014, as many organizations will look to move cloud computing past the early phase of it being used for low-hanging fruit and constrained business cases, into more widespread, production adoption. We believe businesses will spend 2014 considering and planning how they will use cloud services for more strategic and value-generating business cases. The time is ripe for transition because businesses and providers are both evolving, and patterns for hybrid cloud, applications and risk management are taking shape.

As aspects of the cloud move into mainstream adoption, each technology needs to be looked at and assessed separately. No doubt there will be misunderstanding and confusion specific to each aspect of the cloud, not just to the overall term. Driving a lot of this confusion is 'cloudwashing'. Technology vendors are grabbing hold of the term cloud and using it for marketing purposes in an attempt to jump onto the cloud bandwagon, even though what they are offering isn't really cloud computing. Hosting solutions, for example, which have a pay-per-user-per-month pricing model, but without shared elastic capabilities, are being labeled 'cloud.'

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