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Cloud Computing Still Pie in Sky

Service providers such as AT&T (T), on the other hand, are more focused on public clouds, delivered both via the Internet and their own networks, although IBM also has a foot in this camp.

Despite a flurry of recent announcements from the likes of IBM, Microsoft and AT&T, the best-known player in this space remains Amazon, which has been offering public clouds for the last few years. Morgan's Huberty, however, says that Amazon (AMZN) is geared more towards the low-end of the market.

"We will first see significant investment in private clouds," she added, explaining that this spending will likely happen in the next two to three years.

With security and loss of data control often cited as the biggest cloud issues, this is hardly surprising. The brouhaha that surrounded Amazon's cloud storage outage last year, for example, highlights the degree of concern about this issue.

A recent survey by the IT Industry Council (ITIC) found that 85% of companies will not implement either a public or private cloud in 2009 because of fears that service providers may not be able to adequately secure sensitive data.

"Corporations prefer terra firm to the cloud - for now," explained Laura DiDio, principal analyst at the ITIC. "IT managers, especially those at companies with fewer than 1,000 end users, will keep their corporate data and applications firmly behind the corporate firewall until they have ironclad assurances regarding the security of their data and their ability to access it."

Against this backdrop, it could be quite some time before we see large numbers of enterprises deploy public clouds.

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