Monday, 30th January 2012
“Cloud Computing will change our economy. It can bring significant productivity benefits to all, right through to the smallest companies, and also to individuals. It promises scalable, secure services for greater efficiency, greater flexibility, and lower cost.” So says Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda Setting up the European Cloud Partnership in a recent speech.
Hardly a week goes by without some big company or big initiative taking to the cloud (see previous VIP post). The European Commission has been in the news recently with its reform of Data Protection rules (further comment in previous VIP post) which is clearly a precursor to its shift skyward.
The European Cloud Partnership’s (ECP) initial task is to try to create a common basis for cloud procurement by local authorities. The move is prompted to allay the fears of many would be consumers of cloud services who are, rightly, concerned about a number of potential problems including security, standards, data protection, interoperability and "lock in". These issues are also a major concern to smaller businesses which the ECP is keen to reassure in forming this initiative.
The Commission will launch the Partnership with an initial investment of €10 million and expects to see some first results in 2013. The ECP is keen to point out that this is not about building a European Super Cloud or forcing the integration of existing public cloud infrastructures.
Meanwhile, the UK2 Group (a global group of web hosting brands with data centres in the UK and US) has announced plans to unite its operations under a global "cloud intranet". The system was engineered from the ground up, and includes a number of unique features pioneered by their internal IT development team.
The Group expects significant cost savings along with further gains in employee productivity. Hmm, well, there’s nothing particularly new about intranets or the expected efficiencies gained by deploying one. Provision is one thing; getting staff to use is quite another, but I wish them every success.
There does seem to be a lot of faith being placed in cloud computing and I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on how this develops throughout the year. Apple of course did wonders to bring the concept of The Cloud to the masses with iCloud (could it possibly have been called anything else?) only a relatively short time ago.
So, as we stride forth into the year, let’s just hope the bubble (or should that be the clouds?) don’t burst any time soon!
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