Did you catch World Cup fever? I haven’t. I guess I fit the stereotype. I want more speed, more scoring chances, and penalty flags instead of red and yellow cards. And I know it’s wildly inconsistent that I’m a big baseball fan.

Still I’ve watched some of the games, and I was thrilled when Landon Donovan scored in the waning minutes to give the U.S. a victory and help it advance to the knockout round. (If the sport had more terms like knockout round, I’d probably be hooked.)

Still, if Twitter feeds are to be believed, I’m increasingly in the minority. The blogosphere has been full of reports that Twitter and Facebook were saturated with posts during the waning moments of big games. And ESPN has promoted its success marketing the games, reporting good-to-excellent television ratings.

Still the data are suspect. What are saturated Twitter and Facebook feeds? How do they compare to similar data when the last World Cup was played? As for television ratings, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Saturday's match between the U.S. and England on ABC and the Spanish-language network Univision scored an average of 14.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched first-round contest in the history of World Cup telecasts in America, according to the Nielsen Co. Through the first eight matches, the series averaged 3 million viewers on ESPN and ABC, for a hefty 75% rise over the 2006 games in Germany. (By comparison, this month's NBA Finals on ABC have averaged 16.2 million viewers over five games.)” These were some of the highest ratings since the tournament was held in Chicago 16 years ago. As I read these numbers, I see a lot of subjectivity and spin.

Using similar measures, cloud computing is also very popular today. I regularly see good friends on Twitter posting about the cloud, and I definitely see some spikes in traffic during key events. Data center conferences, magazines, and web sites prominently feature coverage of the cloud and how it will affect data center construction.

I’ll admit interest in the cloud is real, as it is for soccer. Many are fascinated by its potential, but I’ve yet to see statistics that match the amount of conversation generated at tradeshows and on Twitter.

Just yesterday, for example, I spoke to four speakers from the Turner Logistics Conference, which was held in Dallas, TX. Damon Barnett, manager business development, Turner Global Sourcing Solutions, Turner Construction Company; Paul Lancaster, director of Business Development, GoGrid; Bob Lozano, founder and chief strategist, Appistry; and Scott Thomas, vice president for Sales Engagement, Terremark Worldwide recounted the potential benefits of the cloud (and they are significant). These benefits include cost control, reduced energy use and cost, and scalability for the end user. The cloud, they agreed, could have helped AT&T avoid melting down when iPhone models went on sale last week.

The panelists are realists, and they are re agreed that cloud computing is still in its very early stages. Yet signs such as new products indicate that vendors think a market will emerge. Yet, I think large-scale movement to the cloud is not a sure thing. Barriers such as security concerns have not yet been resolved, and competitive computing strategies may prove better at enabling customers to achieve their reliability goals while controlling costs.

Continuing growth in the colo market, for examples, indicates that many firms, both large and small, want at least a measure of responsibility for their hardware and control.

I’d love to hear what you think. Are you thinking of moving to the cloud? If so, why? If not, what’s stopping you?