Defining the cloud is the biggest challenge to using it

Cloud computing

The main challenged faced by businesses when it comes to making use of cloud computing is defining what it is, according to a report released today.

Analyst firm Forrester has thrown its hat into the ring with its definition of cloud computing and aims to help businesses by assessing the surrounding areas of the tech and its the maturity.

James Staten, author of the report and analyst for Forrester, said in the report: "The number one challenge in cloud computing today is determining what it really is, what categories of services exist within the definition and business model and how ready these options are for enterprise consumption."

He added: "Forrester defines cloud computing as a standardised IT capability (services, software, or infrastructure) delivered via internet technologies in a pay-per-use, self-service way," he said.

Forrester breaks down the term further into three categories rentable software, application services or platforms that are middleware components, and the infrastructures or platforms used to deploy said apps.

Staten said the key to successful cloud adoption is understanding the applications and knowing their maturity before deploying so the report continues in this vein, examining 11 key areas of the technology and where they sit now.

Only Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) came out well, named as having significant success in cloud computing for businesses.

However cloud labs, Desktop as a Service, Storage as a Service and Business Process Management as a Service were all viewed as achieving minimal success in their current forms.

The report does not advise on specific vendors, but did recommend businesses be selective about the services they consider.

The key advice was to start by determining which new capabilities could empower your business and work with application development to see which functions could provide the most benefit.

Then, businesses are advised to create a plan of potential investments using the report's projections, and finally go for it if a cloud computing solution emerges that meets their needs.

Staten warned: "Cloud computing isn't the be-all, end-all that many portray and they can't suit all uses today and may not in the future either."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.