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Learn to love the cloud

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Cloud computing. It's not just a buzzword -- it's your future.

That's right: if you're not yet sick of the phrase, then you've got a leg up on the rest of us, because you're going to be hearing a lot more about cloud computing, cloud services, cloud-based storage and similar terms.

According to IDC's chief analyst, Frank Gens, cloud computing "will be a growth sector for the next 20 years."

This is generally thought of as external cloud players, though, of course, there are plenty of companies out there willing to sell you the tools you need to create a cloud architecture within your own enterprise infrastructure. (In-house clouding? I think the buzzword gurus need to spend a bit of time noodling this concept. Here's my submission: On-Premise-Platform-As-A-Service, or OPPAAS, which I like because it incorporates the most inane, least-accurate tech marketing term to date -- "On-premise".*)

"In 2009, the pace of adoption of the cloud will accelerate," Gens said. (The reason? Surprise, surprise: IDC predicts that the expansion to cloud computing will accelerate as budget pressures drive enterprises to seek out new, lower-cost options.)

It's already begun -- and certainly, vendors already realize this. Let's take a quick spin through a couple recent industry announcements regarding new offerings in the cloud.

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