Cloud Execs: Traditional Vendors Slow Adoption

A group of cloud providers blamed traditional hardware and software companies for their role in discouraging cloud adoption, pointing fingers at Oracle's Mark Hurd, who spoke earlier here.

By Nancy Gohring
Thu, November 11, 2010

IDG News Service — A group of cloud providers blamed traditional hardware and software companies for their role in discouraging cloud adoption, pointing fingers at Oracle's (ORCL) Mark Hurd, who spoke earlier here.

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At the FireGlobal conference in Seattle on Thursday, Hurd said that he doesn't know what the word "cloud" means.

Such comments are designed to slow cloud adoption, said Brian Bershad, director of research and development for Google (GOOG). "There are all kinds of ways to introduce uncertainty in customers' minds," he said. The biggest threat to how fast the adoption of the cloud happens is the uncertainty and confusion generated by people who don't like the answer, he said.

Hurd also talked about Oracle's move toward more vertically integrated hardware and software.

Vertically integrated products result in the complete opposite of the simplicity and lower cost that cloud services hope to offer, said Javier Soltero, CTO of VMware (VMW). "None of those things come to mind when you think of Oracle," he said.

Some companies that supply infrastructure used in data centers by cloud providers may also feel threatened by cloud services, said Chris Drumgoole, senior vice president at Terremark. In the past, a server company might sell one server to each of four large companies. "Now there's one customer -- me -- buying one server. A lot of people don't like that," he said.

Regulations are another big roadblock to cloud adoption, the speakers said. The government needs to improve compliance rules that relate to cloud services and make them common at least across the U.S. states, said Yousef Khalidi, distinguished engineer at Microsoft (MSFT).

That lack of consistent laws across state lines has a significant impact, Soltero said. "It's a non-technical obstacle, a purely regulatory obstacle that prevents all kinds of very interesting apps in the cloud," he said.

That said, the speakers find that some companies are using compliance as an excuse not to use cloud services. Terremark handles government classified information, yet some companies with far less stringent requirements believe they can't use its services due to regulations. "There's this perception issue that gets in the way more than reality," Drumgoole said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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