How long has cloud computing been around? For many, it’s still the new wave of computing, in existence for barely more than a decade, turning convention on its head as apps and data head out into the cyberspace. For others, it has its roots way back in mainframe computing, which by rights would make it middle-aged at least. But however you view cloud computing and whether you count in real years, dog years or Internet years, it’s a fact that it’s still evolving. And while it shows lots of promise, there are some growing pains that still have to be overcome.
Kinda Shy (about Certain Things)
Like pricing. Sometimes it seems that getting the truth about pricing is like pulling teeth. Some cloud computing providers do offer simple pricing models or flat-rate pricing. For the others, be prepared to have to peel the pricing onion to see what’s under the layers (and maybe shed a few tears in the process). Other aspects that cloud providers may still be coy about include data recovery times and service level agreements. As a customer, you may need to take a firm hand to make quite sure the right guarantees are both given and respected.
Still Trying to Move beyond a Herd Mentality
As long as your information is reliably stored, backed up and accessible to you, does it matter where it is in the cyberspace? Well, actually, yes it does matter. Geographically delimited storage locations are essential for many organizations. An increasing number of cloud computing providers are providing guarantees that data will not cross national boundaries, breaking away from the herd that stores data ‘wherever’.
Doesn’t Always Communicate Well
Shy, awkward or just downright churlish, cloud networks overlay the World Wide Web, but just won’t talk to each other. The internet has all the protocols for everybody to talk together. That was the aim from the beginning. But supposedly higher-level clouds still don’t have common standards for inter-communication.
Finds It Difficult to Share
Some critics of cloud computing suggest there’s a monopolistic trend with players struggling for supremacy and the weakest going to the wall. The communication problems above don’t help, but there’s certainly a hint of hogging customers rather than encouraging the advent of multi-cloud computing. The traditional IT industry finally understood that open standards and interoperability were essential if it was to continue growing. The cloud computing industry will doubtless need to grow up in the same way – sooner or later.
Careless with Other People’s Belongings
Your data turned out to be less than completely safe, following the Snowden revelations and NSA snooping allegations. It took a scandal to get cloud providers to react. Some of them offered in-cloud encryption where the provider had the key (how safe is that?), while others offered customer-only control of encryption keys. Yet others suggested that cloud data storage providers weren’t mature enough to be trusted, and that the real solution was to encrypt your data at your own site before you uploaded any of it over the Internet.
Can Still Grow Up Right
Cloud computing providers also do a lot of things right. That includes scalable, pay-as-you-go computing that offers applications and automation to enterprises of all sizes. Much of the opportunities to be more efficient and more competitive now open to SMBs for example simply didn’t exist for smaller companies before current cloud computing. With careful tutoring and understanding of both short term and long term requirements, cloud computing can still grow up from the gawky of today to the great of tomorrow.