What is “the cloud”?

Posted by gminks in cloud | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to get around to writing this blog post for about a month. Other work has just been getting in the way. I’m still coughing, so I’m going to blame it on the pneumonia. 🙂

So what is the cloud? “Cloud computing” made most of the big lists of 2012 technology terms. But what is encompassed by that term? If you google “What is cloud computing” the top results are from Wikipedia, a two year-old article from PC Magazine, and a TechTarget definition.

If you read vendor blogs, many times they start like they are educating about what the cloud is, but the post ends up as an plug for the company’s solution. We all throw that term is about pretty carelessly. And even though everyone is told that cloud is a big trend in technology in 2012, but no one can really tell you succinctly what cloud is.

It’s like the continuum transfunctioner –  a very mysterious and powerful device…its mystery is exceeded only by its power…

You may have thought I was going to define the cloud in this post. That wasn’t what I had in mind, so sorry if you feel mislead. My goal was to point out that if you are looking for a cloud solution because you have been told you must have one, or if you are marketing or selling a cloud solution, let’s start being a little more careful with our words. Don’t turn “the cloud” into a mysterious and powerful thing like the continuum transfunctioner.

Think about the compute problems organizations have, then talk (or ask questions) about the different stacks or technologies that can solve the problems not only right now, but also in 5, 10, 15 years. Rob Hirschfeld (also from Dell) wrote a great blog post on this topic – Seven Cloud Success Criteria to consider before you pick a platform. I’ve heard that concept driven even deeper by Ed Saipetch of Joyent. He talks passionately about what organizations need to consider if when evaluating open source vs vendor-created software for a project. Now if only he would map those thoughts out on his blog (yes, this is a hint!).

Let’s move away from vendor-speak and cloud stack wars, and lets get back to figuring out how to use our amazing industry to solve real world problems. That would be truly powerful….what do you think?

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