Cloud Definitions, Benefits, Issues and Opportunities

(This post is being cross-posted here but the original post is at

This April 24, 2009, I’m fortunate to be working with Dealmaker Media who will be hosting the 13th Under the Radar conference. In one day we will present a full roster of innovative startups, tech thought leaders, and REAL enterprise & big media customers who are buying cloud services to let you see for yourself what the cloud REALLY MEANS…

What is Cloud Computing?

We have a very simple but broad definition of cloud computing:

Applications, services, platforms, or infrastructure that are highly abstracted or virtualized, web service enabled, able to be automatically provisioned, and generally charged on a pay-as-you-go model.

As the market evolves, we predict that there will be a number of clouds from a variety of vendors with a range of performance characteristics. They will vary by location, security, pricing models, supported “stacks”, degree of regulatory compliance, location, service level agreements, and many other dimensions.

Benefits of cloud computing

The key benefits of cloud computing are that it allows organizations to:

  • shift up-front capital expenditures to ongoing operational costs which can allow businesses to provision more quickly or scale faster than if they had to deploy capital;
  • provision infrastructure more quickly than by their traditional infrastructure purchasing and provisioning model;
  • dynamically match computing capacity to demand more accurately, which means less wasted resources in low-traffic times, and less downtime during high-traffic times;
  • test ideas with a lower threshold by deploying test environments in the cloud and then shutting them down when not in use;
  • scale up to computing capacities that would have been impossible to achieve in any other way cost-effectively;
  • decrease the time-to-value of new IT projects because of the faster provisioning and lower costs.

In short, it allows organizations to do more, faster, with less resources. In some cases, it allows organizations to do things they could never have dreamed of doing before. 

Current Issues with Cloud Computing

It is still early days for this next generation of computing. There are many issues to work through including: security; performance; vendor lock-in; cloud interoperability;  stack selectivity (only certain clouds will support certain technology stacks); cross-cloud portability, administration, and management; regulatory compliance (current clouds do not comply with many regulatory frameworks such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI, data protection regulation or others), and even common metering and billing models.

We believe that this is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to identify and fill those gaps by picking components of the stack and bringing them forward into this new era and we’re hand-picking the best ones to tell their story on April 24!

Early Bird Tickets are going fast. Register to be the first to meet and do deals with these innovators.