Speaking at a Microsoft-sponsored round table in Singapore, Gartner Vice President of Research Brian Prentice said companies are confused about the benefits, demands and pitfalls of cloud computing, despite increasing awareness on the topic.

Prentice said businesses are beginning to recognize cloud computing as an important and emerging technology, but have not begun to really understand it. Instead, it is simply a nominal acknowledgement that something called cloud computing exists and can save companies money.

Part of the challenge associated with understanding the cloud is coming up with a cohesive definition for the technology. Prentice said Gartner defines cloud computing as "a style of computing that is massively scalable, and have elastic IT-enabled capabilities that are provided to customers using internet technologies."

The varied service offerings associated with the cloud - SaaS, PaaS and IaaS - tend to leave businesses uncertain in terms of discerning what will be valuable to their particular enterprises. According to Prentice, the key is to simplify the cloud. By compartmentalizing what cloud computing can do and investigating what each part can achieve for a business, organizations can get the technology under control. Attacking the cloud in confusion, however, will likely cause many problems and negate any of the technology's potential benefits.