The era of cloud computing has finally passed a long-running phase of hype and hysteria and has now become a simple reality of today’s business life.
That was the message from Joseph Coyle, the CTO of IT consultancy giant CapGemini, who was speaking at GigaOM’s Structure 2012 event in San Francisco.
Coyle said most CIOs are no longer asking whether they should embrace the cloud but are focusing on how to use it for cost-savings and on how and when to divest their IT operations.
While many companies are still questioning the safety and reliability of the cloud, Coyle says cloud operations are entirely secure. He notes that most cloud clients were not even aware of last week’s big outage in which a number of Amazon (s amzn) services went down.
“Outages happen, data centers break.. Amazon and other cloud players have given you tools to build around that,” said Coyle. He stresses that the fundamental issue for CIOs is not the security of the cloud, but grasping where the cloud stops and where their own roles begin.
While a consensus is forming about the operational advantages of the cloud, there are still many business questions surrounding the cloud industry itself — particularly around data lock-in. While companies fear that their data could locked into an onerous contract, Coyle said this can be avoided if firms take care to choose interoperability solutions when building their cloud architecture. He adds that the rise of open source providers like Open Stacks will make it less likely that proprietary systems will prevail in the future.
Observing that nearly every legacy enterprise company is offering a cloud service “in reality or in PowerPoint,” host Barb Darrow of GigaOM asked Coyle which providers are most intriguing to him.
Coyle noted that IBM (s ibm), though it doesn’t market aggressively, is offering innovative services like cloud marketplaces in which non-competing companies — say GM and Kraft — can partner to share computing resources. He also listed HP (s hpq) and Verizon (s vz)(s vod) as companies to watch in the cloud space.