Cloud in the real world

At the moment, it’s hard not to believe that the entire world is going to be in the clouds shortly. Every vendor is using the word liberally, every newswire daily digest has links to stories on ‘the cloud’. CIOs are rushing to point out that their organisation is thinking/talking/doing it. Us bloggers feel obliged to write an article a week on it (and so heeeeere’s mine).

Right, everyone, STOP.

Put your pens down, and pay attention please. This is getting out of hand.

What exactly are we talking about? The intention in our world was to reduce the number of servers from thousands to hundreds, if not tens. It’s a green thing eh? But you have to ask, how exactly is this going to happen? I don’t see Government Departments shying away from signing new outsourcing deals, or Local Authorities not signing up with new service providers for managed services. These contracts are typically built over years, with the service provider running at a loss in the early years, before running into profit at the end, so they are hardly likely to want to terminate early to save the planet are they? So with these contracts being signed, where exactly is the unified approach that cloud demands? How can services be re-used if everyone if still off doing different things? Make no mistake, rather like communism or Mrs Stewart’s ideas for decorating the hallway, it all sounds great in principle, but the execution looks a bit hard.

Aha, I hear you say. We are looking at PRIVATE cloud. Umm. Is that like servers on the internet just for your own use? That’s called Hosted Services in my book. And I thought we were doing that? And it’s private, so does that not preclude it from being shared?

All of this is before we start talking about the security issues, controls and the like. The PSN (Public Sector Network) train is en route, and I personally need more convincing that the security at the data layer (as opposed to transport layer) is baked in. Once that’s in place, the whole Cloud thing gets a bit easier, but it still doesn’t get past the issue of existing outsourcing contracts. So I think this is all going to take a whole lot longer than some people want – literally most of this decade – before we see meaningful deliverables.

However, expect to see ‘Cloud Ready’ logos (or variations on this theme) popping up all over the place on vendors’ stuff. I shall be running a sweepstake for how many you can spot at InfoSec. A pint of beer with your favourite blogger and Austin Powers lookalike for the winner!


About Graeme Stewart, McAfee

I work for McAfee as Director of Public Sector Strategy and Relations, UK&I
This entry was posted in Cloud Computing, Cyber, Efficiency, PSN, Security, Sophos. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cloud in the real world

  1. Kate Sahota says:

    I’m so glad you made the comment about private cloud = hosted services. I had the same thoughts myself while trying to explain the G-Cloud to a colleague, but was worried I was being a bit stupid. Nice post, looking forward to seeing the logos!

    • Thanks Kate! I am geting increasingly bad tempered about the Cloud thing right now. Its a bit like when its the Olympics and every fizzy drink and burger company tries to associate itself with high-end athletics. Umm….no, no you don’t. Any right thinking IT bod in Local Gov is going to question anyone stating that they have Cloud sorted. Actually, they should take him/her out the back and beat them silly with their copy of ‘Town Hall’, but that may have more to do with my mood today…

      Cloud is a process, not a solution, in the same way Autumn is a season, not a type of weather. Think I might just tweet that…

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