While I was at the public sector CIO summit for Microsoft last week there was a lot of talk about the cloud. Microsoft has at least half a dozen cloud offerings with the most marketed being Azure. Over and over again I heard CIO's ask the same question and one that I haven't found answered from any cloud vendor yet.
Amazon doesn't have it.
Google doesn't have it.
Microsoft doesn't have it.
Even Scoble's Rackspace doesn't have it.
Its great to put all of these applications and services in the cloud but if I have to rely on my existing crappy data connection to access it you really haven't solved anything. It's like standing on one side of a desert canyon where you can see a paradise oasis on the other side but have no way of getting there.
I may have locations across the US or the world and not all of them will have fantastic data links with guaranteed quality of service. The more I put in the cloud the more the quality of my service is reliant on the network bandwidth available.
Every online service in the world knows this. That's why they buy completely redundant bandwidth from separate vendors to ensure uptime and performance for their customers. That's why InterNap had a fantastic business model in the year 2000 but now are irrelevant because everyone does this now themselves.
As a CIO I'm interested in leveraging the cloud. It can save me time and allow me to focus on other areas of the business instead of how to keep my servers patched or have the latest Exchange hot-fix applied at the right time. Unless you are an online service these activities don't add value to the bottom line.
I'm waiting for a cloud vendor to start partnering with bandwidth providers. That's when the game gets interesting for me.