Some pundits believe cloud computing is wiping out on-premises software and traditional application upgrades. But if you ignore the alarmists and focus on the facts, you'll find that cloud computing often helps to speed on-premises application upgrades -- rather than eliminate such upgrades.

My reality check arrived during two separate phone briefings with Hewlett-Packard and Doyenz, respectively. For instance:

  • The HP Public Cloud announcement included a new HP Service Virtualization 2.0 platform. The cloud platform allows partners and customers to test cloud and mobile applications without disrupting production systems, HP claims.

  • The Doyenz rCloud service includes a virtual lab environment for partners and customers. Here's how it works: Partners can replicate customers' production networks into a secure cloud setting (the virtual lab). From there, the partner can test software upgrades in the cloud environment, without introducing any risks to the customer's production network. Once the tests earn a clean bill of health, the upgrades can be applied on-premises.