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FOG Is The Key To Successful Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has a lot of potential as long as companies remember to keep their Feet On the Ground, says HP

The most important issue to remember for IT departments considering a cloud-computing project is to keep your Feet On the Ground, according to HP.

Speaking on the first day of the Central and Eastern European IT Leaders Summit & Expo, in Budapest, Christian Verstraete, chief technology officer for worldwide manufacturing and distribution industries, said that while the hosted approach to computing resources and applications had benefits, companies should avoid getting wrapped up in the hype surrounding it.

“Cloud is not there to replace everything. When people say that in five or ten years everything in will be in the the cloud – it may be the case for small to medium business but definitely not for large companies,” said Verstraete.

The HP exec shared a handy acronym – FOG – which he said everyone dealing with cloud computing projects should remember. “Don’t forget the FOG – Feet on the Ground – ask yourself very down to earth questions – don’t believe you have to jump because everyone jumps,” he told the audience of Central and Eastern European IT professionals.

A straw pole of the audience at the event revealed that only one organisation was investigating in the cloud in any meaningful way, but even that example wasn’t someone using cloud services but rather planning to become a cloud service provider.

Despite advocating taking a careful approach to cloud projects, Verstraete revealed that an internal investigation within HP had shown that up to 50 employees had been using corporate American Express cards to pay for access to cloud computing services from Amazon without any formal policies from above on using the technology.

“Do you know if people in your business are even using cloud computing?” he asked the audience. “We looked at our employee payment system and we had 50 Amex entries for Amazon cloud services – we know who they are now but what they are doing, we don’t have a clue.”

Verstraete also warned the audience of European IT professionals about US Patriot Act – legislation enacted by President George Bush in the wake of September 11th which allows the US government to access any data stored in the country – an issue that could be a factor for any European companies using data-based cloud applications in the US.

“Compute power in the cloud is way easier to deal with than data in the cloud, as data has a physical location,” he explained.

In a report released earlier this year, IT analyst group Gartner said that although IT organisations in large companies may see much of their role replaced by cloud services in the long term, in the short term IT departments will oversee the roll-out of internal private cloud projects within their businesses.

“With cloud offerings coming in the form of services, this means that the IT organisation will be replaced by relationships to many cloud computing service providers, each for one or a handful of services,” said Phil Dawson, research vice president at Gartner.