Cloud Computing and the IT department

This is not the kind of career disaster that faced the "IBM guys" when minicomputers came along (I'm old enough to remember the looks on their faces when someone said "it's not EBCDIC"). Using the cloud vocabulary to help management understand what you are doing is no bad thing. After all, effectively, they are doing the research you have always asked that they do, to understand what you are actually doing every day.

To help you, the architecture vendors have already realised that outsourcing salesmen are not their best representatives. So we have Private Clouds; in one sense they are a softening-up exercise to ready us for the real thing, in another sense they are the definitive answer to that "sleepless night every quarter end" situation.

There is nothing quite so reassuring for internal IT teams debating the value of cloud-enabling platforms, as seeing an internal, virtualised Exchange Server waking up on its third physical host in a year, without the users having any idea what's happened.

Exchange is an interesting case study for IT people thinking about the cloud; just about everyone wants to sell Managed Exchange services. This is for a number of reasons, principally that once you are in it, it's painfully annoying to get out of it and move to another provider but also because it's very easy to do in a narrow segment of the marketplace, where midsized companies have lagged behind in implementing more recent versions and consequently, still have the old nineties/noughties approach to mailbox sizes, internal anti-spam and AV tools, irritation with AD structures, and the like.