Top ten most influential of 2010: Cloud computing

In 2010, everything became a service

Each Friday until the end of the year, Computerworld Australia is revealing one of the top ten most influential people, technologies and trends that shaped 2010 in Australia.

The top ten was collated and determined by our editorial team and advisory panel of IT managers, industry experts, consultants and analysts. The list so far:

((See how we chose the top ten))

A Readers’ Choice poll is also open to determine what our readers think should be included, and what shouldn’t.

Coming in at number three for Computerworld Australia's Top Ten Most Influential list for 2010: Cloud Computing

Cloud computing

The word "Cloud" has been perched on the lips of everyone who’s anyone in the IT industry over the past two years, whether private or public.

Despite the inherent fears of putting one's data in someone else's hands - let alone in an off-shore data centre - local vendors and telecommunication companies have started offering Cloud services left, right and up above.

The recent Telstra-Accenture partnership is just one example with the offer of an off-premise private Cloud platform to large enterprise and government departments while Optus has joined the ranks with its own private cloud service giving customers the opportunity to purchase slices of computing power.

Other Australian companies have dived into the cloud head first, restructuring the entire business around Cloud computing, including TechnologyOne which recently announced the development of its C2 Cloud suite.

Some have developed their Cloud through acquisition - Dell purchased Cloud integrator Boomi for that very reason.

Microsoft and Google are knee-deep in a battle over Cloud-based productivity suites, with their respective Office Web Apps and Google Apps suites quickly gaining traction with those looking to axe software overheads.

Depending on who you ask, of course, the Cloud can mean one of any number of things. Some disregard the "private Cloud" as hosted data centres "with lipstick", while others are cautious to give credence to a multi-tenanted Web-based platform that could ultimately fall prey to any number of jurisdictions and starkly contrasted legal systems.

Security concerns will continue to weigh heavily on prospects of Cloud adoption, with a number of industry experts warning companies to be aware of the risks involved with Cloud computing.

Electronic Frontier Australia (EFA) chairman, Colin Jacobs, recently spoke of the importance of educating the enterprise on the privacy risks associated with the use of virtualised environments, noting the increase of privacy concerns brought to EFA’s attention as a result of Cloud computing and the increase of information that enterprise is putting into the sites.

This sentiment wasn’t echoed by the Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, who warned the Cloud would "disable" privacy rather than bolster it.

The reality, however, is that regardless of the definition you choose - and there are more than you can imagine - the Cloud has grown in both adoption and hype as companies look to move away from the cumbersome data racks lying within their own offices.

Even in Australia, where data centre costs are staggering and the Cloud is more foreign import than local produce, hosted data poses a much rosier alternative to in-house tech support.

Don't agree with Cloud computing's ranking in the top ten most influential of 2010? Sound off below.

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