Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Can We Cut the Cloud Computing Overhype?

Let's Focus on Specific Benefits, not Snake Oil Cures

Hype is the enemy of success. But people just can't seem to help themselves, so new developments are invariably hyped. This is as true in the technology business as in any business in the world.

Cloud Computing is the latest new development to get hyped mercilessly. Two years ago, a handful of companies were talking about a new way of doing things, a way that was in essence Grid Computing with Attitude. But Grid Computing sounds geeky and borgish; something best left for simulating nuclear explosions, perhaps.

Today there is not a single technology company lacking a Cloud Computing strategy, whether real or ostensible, as far as I can tell. All these solutions are either unique, compelling, or ideal. The situation reminds me a bit of hyperinflation; when there are too many units of currency (or units of hype) to meet market needs, each unit has little or no value.

To be fair, most Cloud presentations I've seen from vendors recently do define what specific challenges they address, and how they solve them. But it would be nice to have a standard map of common IT scenarios and processes to which Cloud can be applied, with vendors pointing to precisely where in these scenarios their products fit.

Maybe it's just a simple matter of staying with the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS progression.

The Hype Cycle
The trouble is, Cloud Computing has now reached the Peak of Expectations portions of the Gartner hype cycle chart. It may have reached this more quickly than almost anything previously.

When I first saw this chart, in the mid-90s, I bust out laughing. I thought it was a hilarious, satiric commentary on the industry. I thought the Trough of Disillusionment was a scream. No one else in this particular room was laughing. People were taking this thing dead seriously.

It was at this point in time I realized that I needed to a.) remember that humor is not allowed in Silicon Valley, except by Steve Wozniak, and b.) start taking ridiculous graphics seriously, or c.) go back to the sportswriting career of my very, very early days.

I decided to stick with the tech industry. Most coaches and athletes aren't really funny, either, and they take their charts even more seriously than do tech execs.

Yet this chart does point out an obvious truth; overhype something and you're going to be disappointed. We writers and events producers are as guilty as anyone of creating hype, and it should stop.

I would think the Web 2.0 phenomenon has been the most overhyped industry term in recent years. Originally set out as a concrete, detailed set of principles, this horse got out of the barn before anyone realized it had grown big enough to escape its pen. Web 2.0 has vaguely become an equivalent to social networking, another overhyped phenomenon.

Companies certainly can benefit from increased customer feedback, from a smart Twitter page, or the occasional video that "leaks" onto YouTube. None of these ideas are original, though; they're only sped up and made more accessible by modern invention.

Sneaky Snake-Oil Snakes
The fact is, we're in a renewed era of snake-oil peddling. Way back in the 1970s and 80s, snake-oil peddling was viewed with amusement as purely a 19th-century anachronism. How could people back then been so stupid and gullible? In our modern times, it was confined to matchbook covers, sleazy little classified ads in the back of comic books, and the occasional late-night TV commercial on those stations that didn't sign off with the national anthem at 1am.

Yet today, the craft is back, and not only through disreputable, sleazy email spam. It's there on every technology-company website, in every press release found in google searches, and may some day be what kills Twitter. Are people today still so stupid and gullible? Or does the extremely low cost of pumping effluvia through the Internet just make it seem so?

Thus, the hype cycle. Web 2.0. Social networking. Before that, the entire dot-com era and the belief that the cute little Java programming language was going to be the lingua franca of technology and change the world.

And now, Cloud Computing.

Rules? In a Knife Fight?
I want to believe in Cloud Computing, I really do. After all, my business card says I'mone of the editors of Cloud Computing Journal. So I must believe in it, right?

Yes, I do, and here are a few proposed rules that I think would be very helpful to the cause:

* Round-file the terms private, public, and hybrid. They are either imprecise and/or meaningless, and are no longer helpful in any case.

* Get away from speeds and feeds and talk about what a product or solution will do. Microsoft was onto something when it asked "Where do you want to go today?"

* Realize that this is often an accounting discussion. Don't focus on the huge cost savings as much as the difference between capital expenditures and operational expense.

* Realize that when it's not an accounting discussion, it's a point-solution discussion. What specific area can you address? It's OK to admit if you're only talking about mirroring a server, outsourcing a non-realtime app, or just selling a little insurance policy. Don't come into someone's joint and scare them by saying the latest paradigm shift is on and that they'll be roadkill in one of Ted Stevens's tubes along Al Gore's Internet highway if they don't listen to you.

* Respect the law. As an example, I just read an article in The New York Times that expressed exasperation with EU regulations that require Cloud servers to be located either on EU territory or in a shortlist of countries (the US was one of these). Well, why not? You know that companies, if given the chance, will locate their servers in Somalia if they think they can save a nickel. I'm with the Euros on this one.

* Realize that you won't win every sale. This is anathema to the business, and one reason why I'm not a technology salesperson. Yes, I watched the movie adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross, and loved Tin Men as well. But there's a greater good, and that is that Cloud Computing as a whole will benefit if you live the dictum that your customers come first and are always right.

The Rising Tide
As I've written before, I've spent much of the past two years in a developing country, which has given me a non-US view of the challenges much of the world's population faces, day in and day out. I've learned that many countries' political leaders are much more quick to play the pity card--please help us, we are so poor--and the guilt card--British (or American) colonialism caused all our problems--than are members of the general population.

Intellectuals in my resident country fulminate now and then about the sins of the great powers, but the masses don't. They know their lives are hard, so they get up, get to work, and try to do something about it. They welcome any new luxury. It reminds me of the time in the US when almost no one had air-conditioning; that didn't mean people enjoyed suffering in the heat. The same is true where I live.

It is in these places that I think Cloud Computing has its greatest potential for good. A relative lack of legacy IT may make it easier to deploy Cloud-smart applications and infrastructure. The slashing of capital expenditure requirements should make it easier to afford said solutions and (virtualized) infrastructure. And there are plenty of aspirations in developing countries; the people would like to go many, many places today.

Many of these places are lacking in any sort of government transparency, and often have restrictions on foreign investment and ownership that are shortsighted and harmful. Yet, all of the big technology companies are here, along with many of the smaller ones. No reason to get hyperbolic about how Cloud will save childrens' lives or liberate impoverished people; most people ask only that their lives suck a little bit less.

Cloud can play a big role in making for a better life here and in other developing countries, to be sure. It is my hope that its ability to do so is not overhyped.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.