Barry Lynn, Chairman and CEO of 3Tera (, says:

How do you choose the best cloud provider?
Look for services with no lock in. Some Cloud services can hold you hostage. Get your applications on their Cloud and it can be very difficult to get them off if you are not happy with the service. Make sure that the Cloud platform you choose does not require you to configure your applications so that they only work on that platform. Make sure your provider has multiple physical locations so that if you have to, you can move your application. Most importantly though, look for Clouds that give you access to world class IT infrastructure that you can buy in small inexpensive bite sized pieces, rather than having to settle for second class infrastructure because that’s all you can afford.

How can you pick a cloud provider that will deliver what you need?
Ask them about service level agreements. Do they guarantee performance? Do they guarantee availability?. Ask them what their limitations are with regard to operating systems, middleware, databases, infrastructure, etc. If they have many limitations, go somewhere else. Ask how easy it is to port an existing application into the cloud. If you have to make changes to your existing code to run it in the cloud, the moment you decide to move out, your application will need to be changed again. As in every business, ask for references.

Why are enterprises turning to cloud providers for their computing needs?
Without Cloud, SMEs can only afford mediocre IT infrastructure at best. With Cloud they can have the same IT infrastructure used by the largest of enterprises, only paying for what they consume.

Will cloud computing be around for a while?
Yes, cloud computing is real and it’s here to stay.
Cloud computing, defined as abstracting applications from their physical resources and enabling dynamic scalability up and down, vertically and horizontally, is the future of IT and will, over time, replace traditional IT and data centers as we know them today.

If you are talking to other vendors, they may have different answers, but after three years on the market with a real product (AppLogic beta came out in February of 2006) and with over 300 happy customers, mostly SMBs, data center operators and hosting providers we have all the proof points for the future of cloud computing as the next generation of IT and data center operations. Of course it will take time until it is vastly adopted.