The Clouding Cloudification of “The Cloud”

The following is a guest post from fnBlog Contributor Sean Tario, founder of OSI, a brokerage of IT infrastructure services for high growth ventures.  Sean’s entertaining rant on “cloudwashing” implores everyone to learn more about the different hosting and data center services that are commonly mislabeled as “cloud computing”. – Editor

Remember that scene from the movie Being John Malkovich when he enters his own mind and everyone looks like him and speaks only, “Malkovich…Malkovich, Malkovich?” That’s how I felt at Oracle Open World a while back… “Cloud? Cloud the Cloud, Cloud, Clouding Cloud!” To be fair, nearly EVERY hosting and datacenter related conference I’ve been to for the past few years has looked and felt like this.

This obsession with the phrase “cloud” probably shouldn’t drive me insane… but it does. The thing that makes me want to put my head through the wall is that I’ve found the people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to infrastructure (like network, datacenter and large hosting environments) almost NEVER use this term. Yet we have business professionals, board of directors and investors who don’t understand these technologies pushing this phrase down to their marketing and IT Depts because they heard or read about it somewhere and “Cloud is just so hot right now.” It reminds me of the late 90’s when “We’re online” was the phrase that made everyone somehow interested in what you were doing and making the “C-Suite” mandate their IT Depts all have an “online strategy”… or the early 2000’s with the term “Green.”

I’ll stop my rant here, as I could go on for pages, and simply ask you to read “THE NIST Definition of Cloud Computing” released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a division of the Dept of Commerce. If you have not already, PLEASE READ THIS! It definitely isn’t the end-all be-all for “cloud” but the document speaks concisely regarding the differences between IaaS, SaaS, Hosting, etc. and… wouldn’t it be nice if we all got a little smarter about the language we use when speaking about the services we buy and offer instead of grouping everything “online” within such an ambiguous term as “cloud”?? If you feel me on this topic, PLEASE encourage others to get smarter on these terms as well and PLEASE spread the word… No More Cloudwashing!

Sean Patrick Tario
CEO & Catalyst @ Open Spectrum Inc.

A version of this post was first published on Dec 21st 2011

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