Symantec study shows disappointment cloud computing is not magical

For a while, even hard-bitten IT types hoped cloud could end some headaches, not just cover them up

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A new study from Symantec shows cloud computing has completed the rite of passage toward technological adulthood: The majority of potential customers say they’re disappointed in cloud computing, but have not dropped plans to adopt it.

The cycle of hype from overinflated expectations to the cold bath of reality is so predictable and, in many cases, so dramatic, Gartner has made a whole business out of diagramming the rise, fall and rise of a statistically average, generically successful technology and sticking technology buzzwords in various places along it.

Cloud computing, as Symantec’s survey of 5,300 companiesand Gartner’s infographic both show, have crossed over the Peak of Inflated Expectations and is heading down into the Trough of Disillusionment.

That’s actually a good thing for cloud computing, which caused a good portion of the potential customer base in IT to confuse the two realities any technology presents.

The happy, shiny one that shows up in airline magazines, shows how much easier it will make everything for business units and end users, on whose desks would appear a big, red button they have only to push to accomplish a hundred times more than they could by lifting bales or toting barges (figuratively) all day.

The reality for IT was always that someone had to go find a big, red button that could do users’ jobs for them without getting them laid off.

Figuring out what technology that button should control, how it would work, how it would connect all the other parts of the corporation together in ways that were only possible before by having an actual person do the work (let alone figure out what that person did all day, how, and how much of it actually needed to be done), has been the challenge of the Preventers of Information Services pretty much forever.

Cloud computing made everyone think it would suddenly be possible to buy a big, empty box they could open inside the data center to make all the complications of information technology go magically away.

Most of the hype was because some of the real benefit of cloud rinses IT with the same holy water as it does end users. But not all of it, and not without a lot of work.

Plugging in to Gmail or Salesforce.com or any other external application built, maintained, tuned, secured and guaranteed by someone else is easy.

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