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As soon as the presentations were over, it became clear that the customers really had the same things in mind: security and compliance. John Merchant started by asking how he could be certain that all the data his company collects from customers, both regulated and unregulated, will be protected and meet regulatory standards.

Selipsky jumped right in, explaining that the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all solution. He said that some workloads could be moved in a day but some may take 18 months. According to him, it’s not so much a matter of what should and should not be moved to the cloud as it is a matter of dividing the workloads between what can move quickly and what will require a bit of extra work.

Incredibly, Hoffman admitted that "depending on how large your data is and the sensitivity of that data, it may never move out of your data center. It may never move to the public cloud." And, of course, Khalidi took this chance to stress - once again - the importance of investing in both public and private clouds. Microsoft mustn't cannibalize itself.

Meanwhile, Don Dodge kept saying that email and productivity applications are "low-hanging fruit." His recurring theme was that you don’t have to move everything and that you should take the very simple steps of migrating your productivity apps to Google to start saving money.

And so the conversation continued. Selipsky talked a lot about how Amazon can handle most any workload. Hoffman talked about what the cloud can’t currently do but will do through future APIs. Khalidi talked about how you still need, yes, local infrastructure, and Dodge talked about how organizations should use Google Apps.

At least they're consistent in their cloudiness.

But would you believe it: New York CIO Singleton wasn’t exactly convinced by Dodge’s message. In his opening presentation, Dodge gave an example of a company with 200 people, saying Google apps will cost about $50 per employee per year (for a total of $10,000). The alternative, according to his slide, would cost about $650 per employee per year. Throughout the panel, Dodge continued to reference this cost savings.

Singleton called him out on this, though, telling Dodge that the savings shrink drastically because you then have to factor in services that Google doesn’t provide, such as Blackberry, archiving, and records-retention services.

But the most entertaining moment came at the end. The moderator asked the participants for their Twitter handles so attendees could follow them or get in contact. Each tossed up up Web2.0rhea handle - except for Microsoft's Khalidi. "You can just Google my name,” he said, before catching himself. "Or Bing my name." ®

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