Is cloud computing inevitable? Maybe, Computerworld reports, but IT still has a lot of questions to ask before floating away on its promises, according to Melissa Woo, director of cyber infrastructure and network and operations services at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Michael Dieckmann, CIO at the University of West Florida, thinks otherwise–and the two spent Nov. 4 at the annual EDUCAUSE conference debating the hype vs. the hope around commercial cloud computing that promises to cut IT costs and provide efficiencies. Woo’s contention isn’t so much that the cloud won’t emerge as an option, but that IT still has a lot of questions to ask before floating away on its promises. "Why is the conversation always when? Why are we not asking why?" she said to a packed session that, with a raising of hands, showed the audience of higher-ed IT pros are on the fence over cloud computing. Woo noted that recent reports of outages by large providers should grab attention. "And what about the privacy risks, security risks? Where [are the] data being stored? How do you handle identity and access management? What happens if the cloud service falls out from under you?" she asked. Dieckmann countered that the cloud question is most relevant for commodity services, but the tricky part is that the definition of commodity services is constantly changing…

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