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Do Our Cloud Computing Discussions Assume Too Much?

Maybe It's Time to Worry Less About Insulting the Audience

"Then he landed with a splat smack dab in the middle of it all, with no idea how he got there, of course."

Confusing? You betcha. I've given you a quote without context, which also seems to come from the middle of some story. It would be nice to know the beginning of the story as well.

I've sensed similar confusion over the past few weeks while speaking to different groups and individuals in several locations throughout Asia.

I'll jump right into "the illusion of infinite elasticity" or "private to me doesn't necessarily mean that your datacenter is on-site, but that your data doesn't touch anyone else's," only to be met with that dogs-watching-TV look.

The same thing has happened as I watch analysts, vendors, and other commentators share their latest thoughts on the Cloud with people who are becoming aware of the Cloud only now.

Not Overhyped, But...
It's not so much that Cloud Computing is being overhyped but that many of us are assuming that our audience "does Cloud" for a living the way that we do. I forget sometimes that IT people have real jobs, fraught with fires that need to be put out, and aren't spending every waking hour thinking about Cloud Computing.

When I present a talk on the topic, or engage in conversation with someone, I don't want to insult them by telling them stuff that they can find at Wikipedia in seconds.

So, no ponderous explications of Paas/Iaas/SaaS or public/private/community/hybrid approaches. The quickest of mentions about capex moving to opex. Some handwaving about security ("aren't big service providers better at this than small IT shops?). More handwaving about virtualization, end-to-end bandwidth, and latency.

Maybe I should risk insulting people a bit more. Because I confess that what I take for granted is often what others have just started to ponder. Not everyone has read Nicholas Carr's The Big Switch. Not everyone knows or cares who the other big pontificators are.

But everyone in IT management has been pitched to death by vendors offering the Next Great Thing, and been bombarded by endless articles and research reports touting the same. They just might be a bit skeptical about how Cloud is going to transform their world.

I believe that Cloud Computing is going to transform the world. But you know, I should probably slow down a bit when preaching this to those who aren't in the choir. I can just ask people to punch me (on the arm, please) if I am insulting them about what they already know.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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