The words "Google" and "cloud" are becoming as common in sentences together as "Google" and "search."
With more than 3,000 businesses signing up for Google Apps daily, the company is widely viewed as a new challenger to Microsoft and IBM in the collaboration applications front.
Google may be seeing rampant adoption of its Google Apps, but the enterprise infrastructure cloud has proven to be a more elusive animal, said Dave Rosenberg, CEO of open-source data integration software maker MuleSource.
"The current enterprise is not going into the cloud," said Rosenberg, whose company launched an integration-as-a-service offering in September. "We're seeing a lot of people who are using our software or other software between external systems, but the idea that we're all moving to the cloud is still probably five years away."
Google's cloud consists of software and services delivered through a Web browser. Unlike traditional software packages from Microsoft and IBM, there is no server or client software to install.
The software is hosted by Google-or whomever the provider happens to be-and should be available anytime, anywhere, from any device connecting to the Internet, wrote David Girouard, vice president and general manager of Google Enterprise, in an op-ed that ran in Forbes.com May 6.
With that as a starting point, Girouard, who has the challenging job of putting Google's pre-pubescent enterprise business on the map, proceeds to regale readers on how Google employs a cloud model for collaboration to make work easier for businesses.
It is a breathlessly utopian view, to say the least, but different from what other vendors are attempting to do. Yet some vendors are ratcheting up their cloud offerings to help their customers move everything to that model.
Sun May 7 announced its Hydrazine initiative to move all computing resources to the cloud. Earlier, on May 5, Sun made its OpenSolaris operating system available on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).
Yet Rosenberg was unimpressed, noting that just because something is hosted, even if it is open source, does not make it a truly a shared infrastructure.
So does MuleSource have the key to the cloud kingdom? No. Rosenberg said while there is call in the market for MuleSource's integration-as-a-service offering, customers are treating it as basic next-generation data integration. These customers take data from one place to another.
This means customers are barely scratching the cloud surface.