“The Cloud” overhyped? Brocade says not there for business yet

May 18, 2010

Say it’s not so — ‘the cloud’ isn’t ready for prime time? That’s the view from networking company Brocade, whose marketing chief compared the hype to the rush years ago to call center outsourcing.

All those applications and data that live off your computer somewhere in the Internet make up the cloud, from Google word processing software to your home pictures and video, and it is hot, hot, hot. But Brocade chief marketing officer John McHugh told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in San Francisco that big business was not ready to embrace it for sensitive data and the most important applications.

SUMMIT/TECH

“There’s lots of issues. They’re being skirted over because they are really tough and there are no obvious solutions for them today,” he said. It will take “years” before big companies do that with important data, he said.

The cloud company he envisions will have no hard assets, essentially being an all-Internet endeavor. “This technology really isn’t done yet,” he said.

The consumer side is moving more quickly. An avid iPhone user, he raved about the impact of mobile devices, to the point where they are threatening to make PCs obsolete.

“My home PC — I could very easily retire that in another year or two,” he told the Summit. McHugh’s PC still gets pulled out for complex design work, but for keeping contacts, writing notes, finding directions, even banking, it’s all gone mobile. “Did anyone really see that coming?” he asked.

“This morning I had to find a Starbucks, an ATM and a dry cleaner in a town I don’t live in,” all on his trusty iPhone, which he says has served him all around the world. “All this information is out there, and the access points are no longer sitting around at desks but much more mobile. I can’t even conceive how it occurred, but I’m becoming a believer when it struck me I hadn’t touched my home PC in probably 20 days.”

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