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I don't know what this cloud thing is, but I gotta get me one
May 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm #130119
Gotta be honest, I agree with the Dean's thoughts below. The term "cloud" is thrown about like a typical buzzword and there are still many who don't know what it's all about. Have you seen this in your organization or agency?
The cloud is not a destination
By Dean Iacovelli, Director of Collaboration Solutions for Microsoft State & Local Government
"The word..." It would be an understatement to say that cloud computing is a hot topic in the public sector these days -- seems like you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a free webinar promising to unlock the secrets of the cloud for your government agency. And yet the definition of "cloud" and its value to state and local governments remains a problematic exercise. Having met with countless elected officials, I can tell you that most of them don't know what cloud computing is (they've never heard the term) yet they likely have unknowingly used cloud services for a long time (webmail, Facebook, etc.).
So one must ask how useful can a term be if it distances people from things they're already benefiting from. And for those who have heard the term, it's often misunderstood or reduced to a buzzword. In a recent meeting with a governor, we spoke about cloud computing, to which the official said, "I don't know what this cloud thing is, but I gotta get me one." While it would be easy to dismiss this as just a colorful remark, I have to confess it is distressing to me when an important industry term becomes almost a fashion statement.
It's indicative of a level of hype and misconception that, in the hands of budget-wielding elected officials, can become hugely problematic and distracting to a CIO's strategic aims. This is the reason it's important to remember that the cloud is not a destination, but a potentially powerful tool for addressing a certain subset of your business problems. However, it doesn't come before the business problems.
May 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm #130123
Depends on exactly when you are talking about. In its infancy, mainframe timesharing required scheduling time on someone elses mainframe to deliver your punchcards for batch processing (a chore my father detested since it required a two hour roundtrip). Hospitals were early adopters of thimeshare to process monthly billing records because the cost of maintaining a mainframe for a monthly activity was excessive for any single facility. Later iterations of mainframe timesharing allowed for electronic trnasimission of data and programs which could be run in near real time if the mainframe inquetion could rapidly cycle between programs but with nowhere near the speed of modern servers running multiple parallel processors.
BTW, am I the only one who thinks the hype on cloud computing jumped the shark about the time Microsoft started running those cheesey "To the Cloud!!!" commercials?
May 11, 2011 at 12:22 am #130121
I wrote a paper on exactly this, ie how Microsoft Cloud Computing can enable Public Sector Transformation:
Like any IT, the key is to identify what new capabilities are enabled, and how do these relate to the political policy objectives..
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