I’ve gotten to a point where I won’t argue it anymore. The word Cloud as defined on Wikipedia
“location-independent computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers 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.“
has been overloaded to such a large degree that it doesn’t actually mean anything anymore. Cloud computing has become a casualty of media hype. Utility computing, service oriented architecture, virtualization, and other things still have meaning, but cloud computing really is lost. We have cloud services in Office 365, which isn’t particularly stored or operated from the cloud. We have vertically distributed, geographically dependent databases & other services with are called cloud, but also don’t meet the basic definition above. We have private cloud computing, which also is a perversion of the definition above. Basically the term cloud has been stuck onto anything technology related. Your phone, your website, your car, your everything is now all of a sudden supposed to be provided by the cloud.
In laymen’s terms, “The cloud is bullshit.“
I feared this would happen at some point, because the underlying technology of the original ideal around cloud computing is still very intact, very valuable, is drastically disruptive, and marks a massive change in the technology industry. Virualization, horizontal architectures (hardware & software, PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS are already and will continue to change the enterprise, startup, and worldwide business landscape.
Why am I rambling on about this? What is my frustration?
When things are redefined that means we, the practitioners, programmers, and users of actual utility, virtualization, and other computing that we had defined as cloud computing will have to find new language to use in defining this revolutionary shift in capabilities. The specifics that are now needed in each conversation becomes required, the understanding now desperately needs to increase. Let me provide an example of why.
Imagine a CTO or a CIO that is working with his or her team to identify a way to utilize cloud computing to enhance their services, increase their uptime, and generally utilize this new technology within their enterprise in which they work. Say they’ve been turned onto the idea of a private cloud. Not a virtual private cloud that’s hosted in the public cloud (like AWS’s offering), but just a big huge box that sits in their data center.
- Does it provide location independent computing? Nope.
- Does it provide auto-scaling capabilities like AWS, Azure, Rackspace, or others? Nope.
- Does it offer the assumes virtualization, service orientation, or other features? Questionable.
- Does it offer the resiliency of connectivity like a geographically dispersed utility computing service? Nope.
But that CTO or CIO will be told over and over that it is a cloud, a private cloud, one of their very own that they can take and hold and hug and love. But it isn’t cloud computing by the definition on Wikipedia. It isn’t cloud computing by definition of those hard core developers, web application experts, and others that have been using cloud computing for years now. It isn’t for those marketers that have been bringing the message of utility, virtualization, and other features. It’s a misrepresentation by the sales people and media who just want to put stickers with little clouds on everything and shove it out the door to clients who will shell out big money for things that say cloud.
I don’t have much of a problem with that, I’m just perturbed that now I have to explain even more about what cloud computing really is versus what it isn’t. Now every time I talk to someone new in the field – in addition to the fear & misinformation about security in the cloud (It’s secure already, so drop it – it’s more secure than your data center you can be sure), I now have to explain to people that Office 365 is a SaaS Service, that isn’t particularly in the cloud yet (last I checked it isn’t running on Windows Azure, but it will or should be in the coming future). I have to explain that Compute & storage that is limited to one geographic area stuck in your data center is called a “computer”, or maybe at best referred to as “High Performance Computer”, but it doesn’t meet the cloud computing definition or the generally accepted understanding of what entail cloud computing. The number of explanations to keep conversations honest have just drastically increased.
Thanks media, you’ve just made my job harder. For those still learning in the industry, beware of the misinformation out there, it’s become rampant!
…got that out of my system. Now on to actual development with utility computing, on virtualized images, within a highly distributed, node based, geographically dispersed computing network system. <- How do ya like those apples? Specific enough? :)
(Cross-posted @ Composite Code)