Cloud Computing: The Ever Expanding Buzzword: Page 2

Posted December 16, 2008
By

James Maguire

James Maguire


(Page 2 of 2)

“You could take a very purist approach and say ‘There’s no such thing as an internal cloud, because by definition it’s use of external resources to a large extent,’” Smith says.

However, there’s “a bit of method to the madness,” in cloud’s double meaning. It’s a question of perspective: for users, the cloud can be seen as an internal resource – they tap into it through their PC’s without regard to its location. But for producers, those who build and maintain it, cloud is typically thought of in its classic definition as external.

Despite this reasonable explanation from Smith, he says “You see a lot of people talking past each other on this.”

Particularly obfuscating is the use of cloud to refer to virtualization. Because ‘cloud’ has often been used as a synonym for Software as a Service. And now that cloud is also used to mean virtualization, that suggests that virtualization and SaaS are the same thing – which is clearly not true.

“I don’t use it as a synonym for virtualization,” Smith says, “and when I hear people do it, I immediately understand their perspective and will talk with them at that level. It’s kind of hopeless to say it’s not cloud computing, because you can see the reasoning behind how they got to where they are – it’s just not worth fighting about.”

The problem, ultimately, is that the term cloud is still new, yet has already grown to encompass a dizzying array of configurations.

At this rate, where are we headed?

In the future, a conference call will be referred to as 'cloud conversation' because it’s voices moving freely over a network, accessed and inputted from both internal and external nodes (also known as phones, soon to be called cloud-voice-input modules). The article you’re reading might be called ‘cloud journalism’ because it can flow anywhere over the Internet, or can be sent internally over an intranet.

In fact, now that cloud computing is so all-embracing, the only thing that can no longer be called a cloud is, well, an actual cloud. Like, the kind that sits up in the sky, made of water.

Because these fluffy white things cannot move freely through disparate interconnected environments. They can only exist in one very narrow layer of the atmosphere, say 6,000 to 20,000 feet, in very specific atmospheric conditions. They can’t move like an app on a virtualized server network. They can’t come to earth, they can’t go out into space. Actual clouds are far too limited to deserve the term ‘cloud.’ For clarity, we should start calling them ‘limited-mobility water retention events.’

Oh dear, we can’t go for a walk today, because the sky is filled with limited-mobility water retention events. And we might experience Water-as-a-Service (rain). So we better bring our plastic-based mobile cloud firewall (umbrella).

Alas, if we’re not careful, the entire rickety structure of IT jargon might collapse. But actually, based on the history of ‘cloud computing’, maybe it already has.


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Tags: cloud computing, Google, Microsoft, virtualization


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