Back in 1991, before the Internet was a big deal, Ohio State University technologist Jerry Martin signalled the nascent Internet's value with an official standards document entitled "There's gold in them thar networks!" (RFC1290) Although simmering as an academic tool for years, the Internet had not yet triggered a significant paradigm shift for commercial computing. Martin's formal proclamation was an early push to business, which eventually embraced Internet commerce wholeheartedly.
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Enterprise IT shops are starting to embrace the notion of building private clouds, modeling their infrastructure after public service providers such as Amazon and Google. But while virtualization and other technologies exist to create computing pools that can allocate processing power, storage and applications on demand, the technology to manage those distributed resources as a whole is still in the early stages.
A year in which the economics of the travel and hotel industries are so bad that business analysts keep making comparisons to the months immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York is not generally the time most IT people would be comfortable putting together a disaster recovery plan for the first time. Most would be in their offices, sweating over spreadsheets, looking for ways to trim spending a bit more, or push a project to drive down operational costs.
With the global economy in turmoil, SaaS vendors of all stripes (ERP, CRM, supply chain, BI, you name it) will be pushing their fast-to-implement and less expensive products even harder. But do you know how to look before you leap into the cloud? Consider this five-step checklist.
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