With respect to the last post (the part about Amazon Web Services and IBM's chary response), I have joined an advisory group with a small start-up in the Valley -- one of those legions of start-ups for which the Valley is justly famous. The name of the company is Zentera. They are "out of stealth mode" which means that they have a fledgling website and some prototype software on trial in a few customer facilities. It also means that at this point hardly anyone has heard of them.
Why do I bring this up, aside from an obvious personal desire to see them 'do well?'
The reason is that in a recent 'education session' with their execs, I learned more about the 'Cloud Computing Stack' than I'd ever known before. Suffice here to say that it is sophisticated in terms of the issues that happen layer by layer in a 'presumed' five-layer stack. I had to harken back to the early network days, and the seven-layer Prottocol Stack for an analogy.
The issue has to do with how an enterprise company can take advantage of "the Cloud" for Mission Critical or IP-sensitive requirements. One simple example might illustrate the point: unless you can guarantee data security for every piece of data for anyone who might or might not be apropos to see/use it, you haven't provided enough security. It is the difference between a guard checking you into a building, vs. having an escort to take you all through the building to get ONLY to the person you need or want to see.
Apparently, this is relatively easy to do in a hard-wired specific case, but incredibly hard to assure in a general case. And many companies are wrestling with how to do this, more or less on a point-to-point basis. Zentera has tackled it at the generic IT shop boundary layer, building a secure, guaranteed bridge between a cloud services provider and a specific set of requirements for a specific user. And they claim to do it quickly, cheaply, effectively. If so, it could be a game changer.
Reminds me of the days when the big arguments were Hubs vs. Routers. Are you more focused on the network of your own computers, or on linking the network of your computers to other networks. The answer then was BOTH, but each side developed independently for a surrprisingly long time., and for way too long, there were few referees.
From the sound of excited IT directors who have experienced Zentera equipment, this solution just might have a similar evolution. Stay tuned...