Gartner

Newsroom

STAMFORD, Conn., September 29, 2008 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Contrasting Views on Cloud Computing Are Creating Confusion

Detailed Analysis on Cloud Computing to be Discussed at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 12-16, in Orlando



The term "cloud computing" is being loosely applied and defined differently, and it's creating a lot of confusion in the market, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts say it is imperative to understand these different perspectives and set the proper expectations to obtain the anticipated benefits.

Gartner defines cloud computing as a style of computing in which massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided "as a service" using Internet technologies to multiple external customers. However, there have been different perceptions of what is included in cloud computing.

"The term cloud computing has come to mean two very different things: a broader use that focuses on 'cloud,' and a more-focused use on system infrastructure and virtualization," said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Mixing the discussion of 'cloud-enabling technologies' with 'cloud computing services' creates confusion."

The two prevalent views of cloud computing are as follows:

-The cloud is an idea that derives from the perspective of the Internet/Web/software as a service (SaaS). The focus is more on cloud than computing with the emphasis placed on access to services from elsewhere (that is, from the cloud).
This cloud is a global-class phenomenon and a high-level concept that can refer to a range of services extending from system infrastructure (for example, compute services and storage services) through applications (for example, CRM) and business processes (for example, payroll services). Gartner's definition is along these lines, with the off-premises nature of cloud services being the point of reference, and applicability to intraenterprise use as a secondary effect.

-The second popular interpretation is a use of technologies, including virtualization and automation, that focuses more on the computing than on the cloud aspect, with emphasis placed on the technologies that enable the creation and delivery of service-based capabilities. This perspective is an extension of traditional data center approaches and can be applied to entirely internal enterprise systems with no use of external off-premises capabilities provided by a third party.

"Although these perspectives are different, there is a connection between them. Any provider of cloud computing services must have an environment that includes an infrastructure to support their delivery. Virtualization often is used to implement this underlying infrastructure to support delivery of the cloud computing services," Mr. Smith said. "Cloud system infrastructure services are a subset of cloud computing, but not the entire picture."

Gartner recommends that users clearly separate the consideration of cloud computing and cloud computing services from the use of cloud computing-related concepts and technologies for the creation of internal systems. Both perspectives (services and technologies) are valuable and should be pursued; however, they are two separate but related initiatives.

Gartner analysts will provide additional analysis on cloud computing during the upcoming Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2008, taking place October 12-16 in Orlando, Florida. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the IT industry's largest and most strategic conference, providing business leaders with a look at the future of IT. More than 6,000 senior business and IT strategists will gather for the insights, tools and solutions they need to ensure their IT initiatives are key contributors to and drivers of their enterprise's success. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. They rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Additional information is available at www.gartner.com/symposium/us.

 

Contacts
About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. We deliver the technology-related insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, we are the valuable partner to clients in over 9,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 6,400 associates, including more than 1,480 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.

Gartner Insight
Gartner Webinars