Will Microsoft Tempt Enterprises Up To the Cloud?

A quick and very unscientific poll of developers at the Microsoft Professional Developers conference in Los Angeles this week suggests that even the Microsoft brand might not bring enterprises rushing headlong into the cloud.
There was broad but cautious enthusiasm about the company having stepped up its push into collaborative services and software — after all “the cloud” isn’t going away, most people said, and Microsoft is making the right move by using its global heft and broad product and services reach to try and seamlessly link PCs, phones and web services for consumers and enterprise customers and developers.
I spoke with several attendees who work with companies and government agencies that handle very sensitive data, and all of them said their clients would balk at cloud storage until they get a closer look at the security and reliability of the architecture. In the U.S. there are, at the very least, regulatory hurdles around storing sensitive data remotely, said one developer who works with insurance companies. A Norwegian developer said he would run into similar roadblocks with his banking and government health services customers. That said, cloud services could also be a real boon for backend testing and development, another developer said.
More than a few attendees said there were no real big bangs at the conference, but given that the PDC is about broad ideas rather than rolling out finished products, that’s also probably no surprise. Biggest kudos — after the curiosity around Windows Azure — went to developments in the Windows Live platform’s Mesh services and the increasing openness of Microsoft’s platforms more generally.