Interesting comments from the TM Forum's Management World Americas event in Orlando (December 2009) around the problematic latency.
The real question here is about the networks and their development in the near future, as this is where the latency comes from (most of the times…). Being located in a remote office and working from my home office from time to time, I experience the issue of latency every day – in my business and private live.
I am an extensive user of Google’s Cloud services and many of our internal applications at Progress Software are also hosted on internal or external servers and made available via a web interface. While Google has many data centers all over the world (and one in Zurich, very close to me…), the applications located on internal or external servers are sometimes only accessible through the corporate intranet and often lack performance.
I am also using Salesforce.com which host their services at Equinix (they manage to run their whole IT on just 1000 servers!) but the performance (despite the local data center in Zurich) is rather average.
So will latency kill Cloud Computing??
I think the answer is NO! Because ‘real’ cloud computing and cloud services (where it doesn’t matter where they run) are actually the answer to the issue of latency and poor performance because the computing can happen very close to the user and network latency is reduced to a minimum.
Google is a very good example of how that can work out nicely. I never had major performance issues despite using Google services in various places, on different devices and sometimes with high data volume.
We just have to distinguish true Cloud Computing from hosted Web Applications that run on dedicated servers and do not utilize the real power of the Cloud (or Cloud Services).