The Daily Cloud: Cloud to solve the world's economic woes...after a hearty breakfast

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, industry heavyweights from Salesforce.com, HP and VMware met to discuss how cloud computing will solve all our economic problems.

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Cloud computing, the revolution in IT consumption, has been handed another writ: Fix the world's economy by bringing us all that cheap, delicious, low-investment information technology we need.

That's right, the World Economic Forum's legendary summit this week in Davos, Switzerland is where rich people get together to make sure they stay that way, and they appear to be looking at cloud computing as a way to juice the world's high tech.

The WEF announced an ongoing cross-industry project, entitled Exploring the Future of Cloud Computing, that "aims to facilitate the development of an eco-system that can maximize the economic and societal value of cloud."

That may be vague, but it still brought the heavyweights out in force. No less than Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com), David Kirkpatrick (Fortune magazine), Ajel Gopal (CA), Paul Maritz (VMware), Shane Robison (HP) and Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard, presumably in tweeds with pipe) came to host "Cloud Computing: The Next Big Thing?"

In what conspiracy theorists will surely call the Maritz-Benioff-Zittrain Triangle, or possibly the Gopal Gambit, the panel concluded, "Service providers in the cloud should be completely transparent about their track record, which is easy to track and display on the Internet."

They also added that "companies should be careful in choosing the kind and level of service that work best for them, and enshrine the conditions in a service-level agreement (SLA)."

How odd that they didn't include a strong call for public disclosure of security measures, strong consumer data and intellectual property rights and meaningful standards of liability for cloud providers.

This is not unexpected. IT was one of the few sectors last year that didn't suffer crippling downturns; a significant reason was the advent of cloud, something analysts have called a perfect storm of cheap computers and maturing technology. Companies are shifting from investing in IT to buying cloud services if and when they need them.

The inclusion of the topic and the general consensus of the presenters on definition should be another step forward for quelling some of the stubborn naysayers. High tech has spoken; cloud is clear to them. Although seating must have been limited on the day, It's hard not to notice who wasn't there: Google, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon, to name a few.

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