It seems that Cloud computing is already scaling its way down Gartner’s trough of disillusionment?  For those not familiar with the Gartner Hype Cycle, the trough of disillusionment begins right after a technology has hit the “Peak of Inflated Expectations”.

Dan Lyons starts things off by agreeing with Richard Stallman about the risks surrounding cloud computing. Dan says:

“Just think of all the little hooks and Velcro straps a cloud service provider can create to keep you locked in. For one thing, they’ve got your data. But think also of all the business logic, the customized apps created uniquely for you. Just look at what Facebook does to make it extremely painful for users to move. That’s a tiny taste of the cloud.”

Stallman tells the Guardian:

“It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign….Somebody is saying this is inevitable – and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it’s very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true.”

The Guardian also has a quote from Larry Ellison on cloud computing:

“The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?”

On the other side of the debate is Geir Magnusson:

“I think that notions of privacy and user control aren’t intrinsically at odds with the big spectrum of technologies that are called ‘cloud computing’. Rather, like any other computing technology used by humans, there are options, and we can choose to use and create tech that is secure and open, both in the implementation (as in open source), but maybe more importantly in terms of portability and data freedom, being able to move one’s data to where one chooses.”

Like many other technologies purported to completely reshape the vendor landscape, cloud computing won’t deliver.  However, cloud computing definitely has a role to play in the future of the IT marketplace.  Some applications are well aligned with the cloud.  Others, especially really important business-critical apps, aren’t.  Will this change over time? Maybe, but how many companies still do the majority of their business critical transactions on a mainframe-based system?  Hint, a lot.  Also, as more customers start making noise about data portability and freedom, expect vendors to respond with support for related open standards.

In the end, cloud computing will become a valuable part of every company’s IT strategy.  However, cloud computing simply won’t be the foundation upon which an average company’s IT strategy is built.

What do you think?