Cloud hype is deafening – and will only get worse

Gartner says cloud hype has reached its peak. I disagree

Cloud computing, according to Gartner, has reached the top of the hype cycle. But does anyone in their right minds think cloud hype will become anything other than louder and more deafening? Seemingly every IT vendor, even ones that have nothing to do with the cloud, is using the satisfyingly vague word to describe every product they have ever released. Gartner recognized that in a new report detailing the so-called “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.” Read the press release here: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1124212 Gartner analyzed dozens of emerging technologies, and out of all of them selected cloud computing and e-book readers as being the two that are currently perched at the top of the hype cycle. That means the technologies are at their “peak of inflated expectations,” and over the next few years will enter new stages such as a “trough of disillusionment,” a “slope of enlightenment,” and if all goes well a “plateau of productivity.” “As enterprises seek to consume their IT services in the most cost-effective way, interest is growing in drawing a broad range of services (for example, computational power, storage and business applications) from the ‘cloud,’ rather than from on-premises equipment,” Gartner says. “The levels of hype around cloud computing in the IT industry are deafening, with every vendor expounding its cloud strategy and variations, such as private cloud computing and hybrid approaches, compounding the hype.” That sounds mighty accurate. But by placing cloud computing at the top of the hype cycle, Gartner seems to indicate that cloud hype will now start to lessen and that we can expect vendor marketing tactics to become more accurate and constructive in describing the benefits and challenges posed by cloud computing. Unfortunately, I think vendors are far from finished in slapping the cloud label on any old product they see fit, which can only make things more confusing for enterprises seeking to gain a real understanding of what cloud computing offers, and what it doesn’t. I just performed a quick search of the archives on PRNewswire, and found 204 press releases mentioning the word “cloud” from the past 30 days. My e-mail inbox is full of cloud pitches, some of them useful, some of them not. A company called 3tera claims on the front page of its Web site to offer “the industry’s only cloud computing platform.” Really? It’s the only one? Other vendors are trying to confuse the definitions of the various types of cloud computing. The phrase “private cloud” seemed strange at first, but by now most people agree that it refers to some kind of highly virtualized, internal network with lots of self-service attributes, essentially an Amazon-like cloud designed by a business for its own users. One of the key attributes of a private cloud is that it’s run within your network – it’s not outsourced. But that didn’t stop Rackspace from claiming that it now offers “private clouds,” hosted in the Rackspace infrastructure. In other words, Rackspace is offering hosted data center services, similar to what they have always offered, and are now using the phrase “private cloud” to make them seem different and new. I don’t mean to impugn these companies specifically – I think most analysts would agree that 3tera and Rackspace offer some useful, sophisticated technology. But they’re among many, many companies contributing to the cloud hype cycle. And it’s only going to get worse. Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JBrodkin

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