Cloud Computing and the Hype Cycle

Posted: 6/2/2008 11:17:00 AM
We are about 6 months into the hype cycle, with a lot left to go. What will the industry be feeling over the coming months and years?
There was an article today at ComputerWeekly, called "The end of the IT Department, is it in the cloud?" In it, Tom Austin of Gartner says he expects uptake of cloud services to increase dramatically by 2013. If it is true that the hype-cycle is cresting, there will be 5 years of trough, which is unlikely. We haven't really gotten started with cloud computing and there is a lot of hype left to be generated.

There was a lot more hype around Web 2.0 in my opinion and cloud computing has a lot more substance. Austin agrees saying, cloud computing is "probably the single biggest magnitude wave of change that we've ever seen." The situation now though, is that those on the edge of IT are getting tired of hype in general. It started with the dot com boom, then Web 2.0, Social Networking, and now there are a lot more skeptics out there. Anything getting buzz in the industry is going to get a lot more scrutiny as well -- and faster.

There are a lot of parallels between the hype around Web 2.0, Social Networking, and Cloud Computing, but the significant difference is that cloud computing is more difficult for the consumer to understand, because few of them interact directly with cloud computing services. For them, cloud computing is mostly behind the scenes. They use and interact with Web 2.0 websites and social networks, but they know little of the infrastructure behind the systems. For that single reason, the buzz will not reach such dramatic levels as Web 2.0. Still though, "cloud computing" only really got started at the end of 2007, it is premature to be suggesting we've reached the crest of the wave.

We have yet to really understand what cloud computing is and all the benefits it will offer society. Most conversations about the topic outside conferences are still trying to explain exactly what cloud computing is. Until we understand what it is, how can we comprehend the magnitude of the influence? You could say we don't understand it enough and therefore expect too much, but the opposite is true.