Rather than getting caught up in the holiday celebrations of Hanukkah or the upcoming celebration of Christmas this year, many people are instead turning to a more sober topic: the end of the world. What I'm talking about, of course, is the Mayan calendar, which ends on December 21, 2012, and with it an overabundance of sources are speculating this to be the end of the world. Whether the end is coming via rogue planets, asteroids, or solar storms colliding with the earth or shifts in the earth's polarity, doomsayers can't agree -- only on the date is there any consensus. This topic is generating so much buzz, that it's being covered by all major media sources and even NASA scientists created a video trying to address the claims.
I think there's some interesting parallels between the end-of-the-world hype and the cloud. Here's a couple that come to mind:
1. The Mayan calendar was a useful tool for keeping track of time, but claims about it predicting the end of the world are ridiculous. Likewise, the cloud is a useful tool for storing data and running certain business applications, but the hype created by some vendors that you can run your entire business from the cloud for a mere $10 a month -- or less -- is extremely misleading and ridiculous.
2. When December 22 arrives and Earth and its inhabitants are still here, many are going to blame the Mayans for something they never predicted in the first place. Likewise, when businesses buy into cloud hype and put all their servers and applications into the cloud without a proper cloud strategy, they are signing up for their own doomsday. The sad reality is that many of these same people will choose to curse the cloud rather than themselves for buying into a false promise.
The message here is this: Don't be the VAR or MSP that passively stands by, allowing your customers to buy into false cloud claims, which are going to hurt them in the end.
Help your customers do a real side-by-side comparison of an on-premise solution vs. a cloud solution and give them a realistic look at what a cloud solution looks like when the Internet goes down, and explain why there might not really be any cost savings when they add in the support and services they need for their businesses. After doing the proper due diligence, it may make sense to move their Exchange Server to the cloud and maybe other servers and applications, too.
Taking these steps up front and giving them a realistic view of cloud costs and performance will make all the difference in the world in the end.