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Enterprises that express unwillingness to use cloud services are probably already using the cloud — they just don’t realize it, said Netflix founder Dave Hitz at Structure today. But instead of avoiding creating policies around new services, they need to embrace them for the future.

Dave Hitz - Founder and EVP, NetApp - Structure 2011

Dave Hitz - Founder and EVP, NetApp - Structure 2011Enterprises that express unwillingness to use cloud services are probably already using the cloud — they just don’t realize it. So said NetApp founder and EVP Dave Hitz at GigaOM’s Structure conference on Wednesday. Hitz cited a survey which reported that 10 percent of respondents said their organizations would never use the cloud, with another 26 percent were sitting on the sidelines while waiting for those services to improve.

But those results are bogus, Hitz said. As one example, he said that when he goes to approve his assistant’s time card, he ends up in a payroll system in the cloud. “But people will say, ‘Payroll is not a mission critical application.’ To which I say, try not paying your employees and see how long your company lasts,” Hitz said.

But it’s not just mission critical applications like payroll that are powered by the cloud; In the case of NetApp, Hitz said policy management applications, the consumer-facing website and even the company’s blog are all cloud-based. Hitz said it reminded him of the days when he would visit customers and they would say they didn’t have a PC strategy. And yet, all of their employees would have computers in front of them.

That is, just because a company hasn’t built a strategy around usage of a new technology doesn’t mean it’s not already using it. For organizations, however, it’s important that they embrace and understand those technologies. “You have to get your arms around it,” Hitz said.

Watch live streaming video from gigaomstructure at livestream.com
  1. Hitz may be right about what companies are actually using, but to many people, the cloud is putting your own services on somebody else’s server in some other location, tethered only by a low speed connection. And to companies selling cloud services, they are trying to convince businesses to give up their LAN-based servers that they have total control over, and instead connect to servers, managed by a third party who “promises” they’ll make keeping them up their top priority, via a link that is probably at least 10x, and maybe 100x, slower than their LAN connection.

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