Adam Stern, founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual, says:

Consider the plight of the modern small to mid-size business — lost in the fog of cloud computing, encountering virtual hosting providers that are, well, poor hosts.  The natural impulse is to gravitate to the familiar names in this still-nascent realm – Amazon, Google, Verizon, et al — out of wariness with what, at the entry level, increasingly feels like amateur hour.

As CRN recently reported, a fair number of cloud adopters aren’t happy campers. According to an Alcatel-Lucent study of 4,000 IT decision-makers worldwide, more than 50 percent are dissatisfied with performance and security protection, as well as with the vendor community’s apparent inability to address both trouble spots effectively.

That hasn’t deterred a great many businesses, which continue to flock to the cloud.  Per the survey, some 40 percent rely on an outsourced cloud provider, and 52 percent say they plan to move some resources to the cloud within three years. “More than 80 percent of IT decision makers said they were moving, or considering moving, some applications to the cloud — but only 40 percent said they were moving, or considering moving, mission-critical apps to the cloud,” CRN noted.

Lines are being drawn as the marketplace matures, and one size decidedly does not fit all.  At one end are the Big Players — Microsoft, IBM, HP, the aforementioned others – offering ultra premium packages, with prices to match.  At the other end are micro-players – virtual garage shops that lack the cash and the requisite industry knowledge to host even a garden party.  They set up risky, low-feature, low-function, low-value virtual environments at rock-bottom prices. 

The consumerization of IT is a siren song to the uninitiated.   “The consumerization of IT is a result of the availability of excellent devices, interfaces and applications with minimal learning curves,” observed Mark Cox in eChannelLine USA.  “As a result of using these well-designed devices, people have become more sophisticated users of technology, and the individual has been empowered. People expect access to similar functionality across all their roles and make fewer distinctions between work and non-work activities.”

Or as IT consultant Brian Madden recently put it, “it’s not ‘consumerization’ versus ‘desktop virtualization.’  It’s not even consumerization and desktop virtualization, because these two things are not mutually exclusive… Instead, they’re both pieces of what we may now call ‘end user computing ’ Desktop virtualization is about delivering all types of applications, data, and working environments, and consumerization is one of the pressures that affects how we deliver that environment.”

Next: Caveat Emptor in the Cloud