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With cloud vendors and enterprise apps, err on the side of caution

Making the wrong decision in cloud probably won’t lead to prison, but you might end up regretting your choice. A little cloud caution is worth it.

Back in school, a friend of mine had an interesting motto: "A little paranoia will keep you out of jail." While this mantra might be a bit extreme for everyday life as a cloud administrator, a little caution won't hurt. And that's the theme for this week's Quotes from the Cloud; it's important to do your homework when choosing a cloud vendor. Figure out if the provider can answer your questions; be sure to look at both sides of the open source cloud equation; and get some idea of what technologies end users will launch in the enterprise -- whether or not you give them the thumbs up.  

“Some of the older partners here say they’ll host sensitive data in the clouds over their dead bodies, but the younger ones say they don’t care.”
-- Susan Bradley, partner at Fresno, Calif., Tamiyasu, Smith, Horn & Braun, stressing that the accounting firm’s more seasoned IT pros still carry deep concerns over cloud security. Other IT pros share those sentiments, noting an interest in Microsoft’s impending Windows Azure updates and IaaS roadmap but no solid commitment to buy into it.

That's really critical -- you've got to have somebody to call.”
-- Sean McDermott, CEO of Windward IT Solutions, on why some cloud customers might choose Citrix's forthcoming CloudPlatform over open source cloud software OpenStack. Due out in June, CloudPlatform lets IT pros create, launch and manage applications that can run across CloudPlatform and AWS clouds with Amazon EC2-compatible tools. And isn't that all we want sometimes -- someone to hear your call when the whole thing's undone

“Open source is good, but you have to be careful. If you don't have any real expertise in-house, you better hire someone to help you or buy commercial.”
-- Bill Claybrook, in a Q&A on open source cloud software, stresses the value of open source cloud options where there are no license fees, no vendor lock-in and the ability to truly innovate. Claybrook also warns of the pitfalls, however:  Open source cloud vendors may be growing in popularity, but they can lead to a dead end if you don't have talented, dedicated development staff to help nurture your cloud

“Dell has been very clear while HP has proceeded in fits and starts.”
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, echoes what many in the cloud market say when trying to make sense of HP and Dell's cloud messages. Both hardware vendors have slapped the "cloud" label on products aplenty, but customers are still left scratching their heads on which vendor offers what. 

“Running business apps on mobile devices, especially when companies are thinking about BYOD, opens up a whole new can of worms with respect to security.”
-- Kamesh Penmaraju, analyst at the Sand Hill Group, explains how bringing your own device (BYOD) can exasperate security concerns in the enterprise. Using mobile device management tools in a private cloud can help to lessen the blow by extending centralized cloud security policies to the device and giving IT a single, comprehensive security policy. 

“It's not uncommon for IT pros to bypass management and set up their own AWS clouds.”
-- SearchConsumerization.com staff explaining why Amazon ranked in the top 10 disruptive technology vendors in the enterprise. AWS, Amazon EC2 and Simple Storage Service (S3) are disruptive for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that anyone can sign up for the services. But just because Amazon is considered the cloud computing giant doesn’t mean it’s at the top of the list for most disruptive technologies … or does it?

Michelle Boisvert is Senior Site Editor for SearchCloudComputing.com. Contact her at mboisvert@techtarget.com.

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