Cloud Computing: Services, Economics and Impacts

Educause 2009

James Dolgonas – President / CEO , CENIC

David J. Ernst – Associate Vice President & CIO , University of California Office of the President

Theresa Rowe – Chief Information Officer , Oakland University

John J. Suess – Vice President of Information Technology/CIO , University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Lots of talk about  the fact that the Issue is about what will the IT service will be in 5 years and that IT needs to get over itself – users don’t much care where the service comes from as long as it works. There was also a discussion about the Cloud not needing to be outside the University or be a commercial thing – it could for instance be for shared campus datacentres.

One speaker pondered that maybe the Cloud is an answer to the perfect storm of budget cuts and increasing demands. There too was the familiar debate about the risk of adopting cloud services as core services – what happens if they go bust?

Maybe I was mistaken but it seemed that it is perhaps a US centred problem about the difficulties of dealing with Google and Amazon – is this the same in the UK?

In summary the panel felt that the Cloud will deliver some key new services, will let staff build new skills, and be part of how the IT function will change over the coming years .For future on speaker pithily said, we need to think about the things we must stop doing so that we are able to do the things we must do.

The point, from this and other sessions,  now seems to be not ‘if’ or ‘when’ the Cloud will be used, because it clearly already is, but ‘how’ and ‘when’ policies will be introduced to manage its use. As Bas Cordewener said to me, “For once it’s not a technology issue, it’s a policy one

The whole session can be seen here, and there is also another interesting little piece , the Parable of the Cloud. This session was possibly the best Q&A one so far, lots of good questions and a panel able to address them.