Two Views of the Cloud: End Users and Enterprise IT

It's easy to forget that sometimes even in a highly specialized audience -- like the one here following enterprise mobility -- there are divisions in opinion and in how a common technology, like cloud computing, is viewed. At last week's Cloud Connect event in Santa Clara, I heard several speakers call this divide out in compelling fashion, and it made me wonder if culture is part of the reason cloud computing still faces challenges in corporate deployments.

Mark Hinkle, senior director for Open Source Solutions at Citrix, called out one clear division in a panel on cloud deployments. When viewing cloud services, Hinkle said, end users will typically gravitate toward a solution that provides fast and easy results. But for enterprise IT, he noted, "the stakes are much higher" for cloud deployments. "There are more things that come into play."

Those things are, as most of us know, things like easier management, security, and other enterprise-level features that end users may not care about in their haste to "get work done." That may lead to line of business leaders deploying cloud systems that may end up causing more back-end headaches than they are worth.

"We're seeing a lot of asking for forgiveness" in cloud deployments, said Ian Rae, CEO of CloudOps, during the same panel discussion. Though Rae doesn't see cloud as an either-or option, he did recommend enterprises start with "lower-risk use cases" for cloud deployments, then moving deeper into cloud as the enterprise gets more adept at using cloud services.

What I found refreshing was the overall level of honesty and lack of hype at the event -- most of the speakers I heard kept stating that cloud deployments weren't a simple silver bullet, that users needed to understand that cloud deployments are a long-term strategy, and that in many areas things are still being figured out. Including, it appears, how to synchronize opinions of cloud from both sides of the enterprise.

Join me at the Mobile Enterprise 360 community to continue the conversation.

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