If you're confused about "the cloud," you're not alone. The definition of the cloud is a subject of intense debate, even among its inventors. "InformationWeek" editor-at-large Charles Babcock explains exactly what cloud computing comprises, how it differs from pre-existing technologies and how it's going to affect the way companies operate. He describes the seemingly limitless potential of cloud computing's huge, cost-efficient data centers without minimizing the problems facing this emerging platform. A fundamental shift in digital services is taking place. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone curious about the brewing technological storm.
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This review was based upon a pre-release edition of the manuscript provided by the publisher.
Drawing on his extensive experience in the IT world and his position as "editor-at-large" of the well respected InformationWeek, author Charles Babcock aims to offer "..the first book to provide practical cloud computing understanding and strategy for business".
So does the book meet/exceed the promise made?
Based around a promising synopsis the book begins with a solid foundation in the chapter layout and topics to be covered which include the potential pitfalls of adopting cloud technology.
The author provides his own thoughts on what cloud computing actually is (a subject of some intense debate even now) - although the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)'s formal definition is included as one of the book's appendices and it is clear the writer understands that whilst flexibility is one of cloud computing's main attributes it also contributes to people's confusion..
In answer to those that might argue that cloud computing is simply the latest buzz word based around pre-existing technologies - such as traditional mainframe computing, whilst acknowledging the contributions of what has gone before the author argues that although this is true to an extent it is the way these and emerging technologies have been combined and refined - virtualization in particular as well as a number of cultural changes that truly is leading to a paradigm shift.
Indeed, whilst an understanding of the machinations behind the cloud may be considered unimportant if not to a degree desirable for the majority of service consumers it is critical for those that wish to take full advantage of the opportunities it presents such as CIO's/IT professionals and progressive business managers and it is this audience I feel the book is most appropriate for. It tackles the hype commonly associated with the subject matter head on and the chapter entitled "Overcoming Resistance to the Cloud" covers the main issues with a focus on vendor lock-in all using an easy to read, conversational tone.
The author is clearly an advocate of the cloud, but presents his case without vendor bias whilst referencing the main players in the field as appropriate and concludes by means of a glimpse of the potential that current and future implementations may provide that although cloud based computing at present could be considered a disruptive technology it may provide the most intoxicating blank sheet of "paper" on which the future will be written.
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