The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

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The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing
A Tale of a Salesman that Convinced a CIO to Switch to Cloud Computing

1 – Introduction and DefinitionP.2
2 – Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing, from a CIO – Salesman Point of View P.4 3 – ConclusionP.8
4 – ReferencesP.9

1.1 Introduction

“Cloud” computing is the fanciest buzzword in the computer industry, currently surpassing the last big term “web 2.0”. Every big player in the computer industry launched a cloud service last year. Notable examples are iCloud by Apple, (Apple 2012) or Microsoft Cloud Services (Microsoft 2011), copying various innovators like Google or Dropbox, who offer similar services since much longer. The latter is the most successful company in the private usage of a file-cloud, since 2007 it has acquired over 50 million users (Dropbox 2012). The success of Dropbox lies more in its simplicity rather than its functionality, the company never uses words like sync or cloud, it simply works for the user (Carr 2011).

But would business also use cloud services? If we take Dropbox as an example, would a firm use a similar service and upload files on a foreign server, hence give away files to a different company? Even when functionality is easy, what about legal or safety concerns? The question here is a different one than for private usage. In this essay we will examine the pros and cons of the functionality of cloud computing (CC) possibilities in regards of the delivery of information system (IS) to the client by slipping into the role of a CIO on the receiving side and a sales person on the giving side respectively.

“Cloud” is more a term than a definition, much like “web 2.0”, which describes a conglomerate of modern, dynamic and social web services. CC refers to a concept where the user gets computing and storage capacity without owning it, everything happens beyond his senses, in the “cloud”. The concept dates back to the 60s where the ideas of global computing networks shed the light (Cantu 2011). The first real depiction of a cloud in an Internet framework appeared in 1996 (Gillet 1996). In 1997, Prof. Chellappa provided the first definition of CC, with the implication that the boundaries of computing will be determined by economic rationale rather than technical limits (Goiuzeta Business School 2012). This was an exact forecast of what happened. Within just a few years, companies began to switch from owning hardware to using cloud services because they were attracted to benefits like a reduction in capital costs as well as an easing in IT staffing issues. The recent hype came a decade later when private users started to own more than one internet device, and the boundaries of work/leisure time spend on a computer started to blur. Hence, companies that offered similar cloud services, started to incorporate the name cloud in their products. Or as Larry Ellison, CEO of oracle put it in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2008:

“The interesting thing about Cloud Computing is that we’ve redefined [it] to include everything that we already do. […] I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of Cloud Computing other than change the wording of some of our ads”. (Armbrust 2009)This statement confuses me. How should I explain how CC can be used to better incorporate IS in businesses when it apparently has already been done before the cloud even existed? I need to take a closer look and find out what CC is exactly. And then I can find out if Mr. Ellison actually was exaggerating – or CC is in fact just a buzzword. 1.2 Definition of Cloud Computing

The National Institute of the Department of Commerce of the US defines cloud computing as a “model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources”, and distincts three different service models: (Mell und Grance 2011)

Software as a service (SaaS), e.g. Google Apps, Dropbox, or...
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