PSA: “Warning: Cloud Washing is in FULL EFFECT! Be cautious or you could be bitten by this nasty virus, a rant on marketing nonsense.”
Yesterday I was buying a router. The router I ended up getting has a USB port for attaching a drive as a NAS for media. Not for file sharing, but simply for video, music and related file sharing. Here’s the advertisement on the main page of the D-Link Site.
Notice they’re on board with the cloud washing with that CLOUD message. Do they know what cloud is? Is cloud definable? Nope. Nope. Probably not. Pure and unfiltered marketing nonsense. Perpetuating confusion among the market. Great. Thanks. No. Not really D-Link. Shame on you.
So this is a minor one, but bringing the term cloud to consumers like this is just perverting the word even further than it alreadyis. Cloud, as I wrote over a year ago in “Overloaded to Death, Cloud Computing is Dead“. Take the wikipedia definition from around the same time,
“location-independent computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data tocomputers and other devices on demand, as with the electricity grid. Cloud computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization, service-oriented architecture and utility computing. Details are abstracted from consumers, who no longer have need for expertise in, or control over, the technology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them.“
Based on this, one would presume it a bad idea to even use the word cloud computing in general consumer coversation, let alone advertising. But it appears to be ok, frustratingly so, beceause wikipedia even has altered reality and changed the definition dramatically to what they have now,
“Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation.
There are many types of public cloud computing:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Storage as a service (STaaS)
- Security as a service (SECaaS)
- Data as a service (DaaS)
- Test environment as a service (TEaaS)
- Desktop as a service (DaaS)
- API as a service (APIaaS)
- Backend as a service (Baas)
The business model, using software as a service, users also rent application software and databases. The cloud providers manage the infrastructure and platforms on which the applications run.
End users access cloud-based applications through a web browser or a light-weight desktop or mobile app while the business software and user’s data are stored on servers at a remote location. Proponents claim that cloud computing allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance, and enables IT to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand.
Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale similar to a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network. At the foundation of cloud computing is the broader concept of converged infrastructure and shared services.“
This also, albeit off topic, shows the horrible problems with using wikipedia as the baseline core of a knowledge base. Can we have some static encyclopedias for reference please? Back to the topic, cloud washing.
Notice toward the end of this definition however, there is at least some context to what cloud computing started as and attempted to describe. Cloud computing is supposed to detail utility computing based on needs around converged infrastructure, shared services and overall distributed computing. More on those things later. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest, more notorious and horrible desecrators of the term cloud computing.
Oracle is the easiest target right now. With Larry Ellison’s speaking out that cloud computing is absurd and a silly trend a few years back, it is indeed hilarious how much his company has jumped on the band wagon. Welcome to the party Larry, nice you joined it. Funny you mock what you yourself are attempting to do now. Technically I agree with some of his comments, but holy moley what a back handed, stab you in the face, can of hypocrisy that company is involved in these days.
I will give Oracle some credit. At least with Sun and other acquisitions they have some extremely solid software that is extremely capable. But even with that, here they go again with complete nonsense in their site messaging.
The next one is the most epic of all pieces of cloud propaganda from Oracle. Exalogic Elastic Cloud – This thing is absurd. It is ONE machine. In no way does it meet any of the definitions of cloud computing. Maybe on some fringes or outlier definitions of cloud computing but it serves none of the core underpinnings of services as needed, distributed (it’s ONE machine, did I mention that yet?), geographically distributed, or even distributed at all for that matter. Maybe if a company bought TWO of these monstrosities it would help out. Seriously though, if your company has or needs this type of hardware, it is an extremely high likelihood that you’re architecture is just botched. Time for a rewrite, also very likely.
I suppose beyond that, it is probably a great machine that does wonderful things and operates lots of legacy applications that may not be suitable for real cloud computing of any sort – and makes Oracle obscene amounts of money. In that case, great, buy yourself one. But don’t buy it because you’ve been fed the marketing and sales pitch. Stay safe, stay smart, build smart architectures – avoid Oracle hardware. Your call on the software.
Cloud Computing Benefits
The other thing that cloud computing offerrings center around is the core premise of elastic or utility computing, converged infrastructure, shared services or distributed computing and systems is that of eliminating vendor lock-in. Almost every company out there provides services on a subscription basis that provides B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer) with the freedom, flexibility and agility to move services and capabilities around as needed. This openness and accessibility to cloud computing is one of the largest benefits of the technology.
Oracle does the entire opposite. Bard Darrow presents this really well over at Gigaom in an article titled “Oracle Cloud takes vendor lock in up a notch“. Barb’s article starts off with a good question,
“Oracle’s new clouds are a vehicle for selling more Oracle hardware and software into big accounts. It’s unclear how many of these big accounts — banks, manufacturers, insurance companies — really want to go all-in with Oracle in the cloud, however.”
Anyway, on to the last example of mutating the term cloud and cloud computing into a dumbed down description of useless propaganda.
Microsoft Office 365
Look at that definition! Impressive it is in deluding and dumbing down the entire concept behind any definition of the cloud.
““The cloud” is a friendly way of describing web-based services that are hosted outside of your organization. When you use cloud-based services, your IT infrastructure resides off your property (off-premises), and is maintained by a third party (hosted), instead of residing on a server at your home or business (on-premises) that you maintain. Many services you use every day are a part of the cloud— everything from web-based email to mobile banking and online photo storage. Because this information is located online or “in the cloud,” you can access it virtually anywhere, from a PC, tablet, mobile phone, or other device with an Internet connection.“
They could have just said your files and such are stored on the Internet instead of calling it “cloud”. Because what they’re talking about and the services that Office 365 are offering are exactly that, Internet accessible applications or what was called last decade, Microsoft has finally become and ASP (Application Service Provider). There is very little “cloud computing” being done in the distributed, scalable, or related sense of the idea.
I alos have to give Office 365 credit. The site rarely states their products are “cloud applications” or that they’re distributed, scalable or the like. Most that work in or around Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint and all of these services that Office 365 is offering knows better than to think they’ll get high uptime, scalable and distributed application capabilities similar to gmail, google calendar or related applications.
Google’s downtime right now is so astronomically lower than Office 365, it will be decades (or maybe centuries) before Microsoft can legitimately claim they have uptime and durability of data similar to that of Google’s offerings. Again, in Office 365′s credit, the offerings are more robust in functionality - but that’s irrelevant to the “cloud” aspect. My suggestion is to remove the remaining places that Office 365 is sold as a “cloud” service.
Overall, cloud computing, even more than it was when I wrote my rant “Overloaded to Death, Cloud Computing is Dead” is indeed a dead and useless word these days. It’s frustrating. Now that I’m done with this rant part II, I’ll likely use the term or word cloud computing in a very minimal way. I’ve been trying to cut back on using it and would encourage others to do the same. Use words that actually mean a defined architecture, pattern, product or service. Great examples include distributed computing, converged infrastructure, shared services or even utility computing. These of course are confusing to some degree, but to no degree comparable to the diluted mess with the word cloud computing.
So hopefully we all can start dropping cloud computing from our vocabulary and I suppose consumer marketing can have their way with it. We’ll have great conversations by diving into the things that really matter and make advances in the industry. So until next blog entry or in person conversation, steer clear of the cloud computing marketing wash machine hype and stay informed!
That wraps that up, I’m off to write some distributed computing code -Cheers