The Forecast Is Misty

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A recent roundtable of cloud computing specialists held by FAST Ltd recently has shown that many organisations are struggling with what the cloud actually is. Personally I just can’t understand why not. Cloud computing is hardly rocket science and it offers quantifiable benefits to organisations.

FAST are not the only people to have come against this issue. Steve Ballmer spoke to 100 CEOs at the company’s headquarters in Seattle about the future of cloud computing, its use in enterprise and the vision that Microsoft has for the market.

He was met with this from one of the lady CEOs: “I don’t mean to be slow, but I still don’t know what cloud computing is. Is it kind of like the Borg or something…?”

I rather like the fact that she knows her Trek, but this question, while wonderfully phrased, is the same one being repeated everywhere. What is cloud computing, exactly? What does it really do?

The round table by FAST revealed that there were still a number of issues such as “lack of knowledge and understanding in the market by vendors and consumers, and the so far undeveloped legislation and standards available means the market is complex and there is still a high level of maturing that cloud computing needs to go through.”

Webroot’s Ian Moyse said that, “There are a lot of vendors now claiming that they offer ‘Cloud’, but the reality is that 99 percent of their businesses aren’t even ‘Cloud’…which will just add more confusion from an end user perspective.”

He may have a point, the sudden flurry of cloud claimants have increased dramatically in 2010, with even more set to offer options in this sphere as the year treads on. Additionally, Ronan Miles, chairman of the UK Oracle User Group, added that “We’ve developed a huge language of complexity that we are immersing our customers in. We are selling IT to IT.”

So how do you know what cloud is yours, and what applications and services are going to truly take you there? The first thing is to look into the multitude of cloud offerings available and to determine which way you want your company to go, where you want to take your applications and make sure that you choose the services that take you that way.

Cloud computing isn’t just about enterprise either. It also offers smaller businesses, and consumers, far more flexibility than they could ever have afforded before. You get access to technology that would normally be too expensive for the smaller organisation, you can be far more flexible with how your technology operates within your business, and you can experiment and explore with greater ease.

If you’re still feeling a little bewildered about what cloud computing actually is, then you’ll probably want to crawl under your desk and rock back and forth when you hear that Cloud 2, the next generation of cloud computing, is already being talked about.

The latter is all about social, collaborative and real-time access to information and data across new mobile devices. It sounds exciting, and it is! This is the future right here. ASUS, most fortunately, fall neatly into the category of companies that are making real strides in the cloud computing arena. And they’re opening doors to all levels of user.

The Eee Pad is a case in point. A full featured slate computer that offers ultra slim style with superb features and 10 hour battery life, it delivers a seamless experience when using cloud computing services. Add to this the Eee Tablet, the Garmin-ASUS A10 and their latest range of netbooks, and you’re looking at a smorgasbord of technology to help you get the most out of the cloud computing solutions already out there.

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