Thursday, October 23, 2008

What is NOT Cloud Computing?

I spoke at the Cloud Summit last week put on by M.R. Rangaswami and enjoyed as always the giddy enthusiasm with which Silicon Valley embraces each new technology wave. Cloud computing is custom made for Silicon Valley - it is poorly defined, seemingly vast and has the potential to change human life as we know it (at least for those of us who live in Silicon Valley).

Of course, we have our fair share of naysayers (like Larry and Richard), as well as theories about why those naysayers are down on cloud computing.

Since so many people are jumping on the cloud bandwagon, I thought it would be useful to look not at what cloud computing is but at what cloud computing isn't.

Cloud computing is the hardware equivalent of automatic teller machines. The whole idea is that you don't have to deal with people to get your application deployed, scaled, monitored and managed. Therefore anything that gets between your application and the API to the data center in the sky is taking you away from the cloud.

The other important - and to date largely unrealized - promise of the cloud is choice, aka freedom from lock-in. Today, customers are often locked into a particular cloud provider just as surely as they are locked into their in-house data center. Moving forward, you should have the ability to change clouds providers as easily as you change cell phone providers.


Unknown said...

Hi Chris,

Would you mind if I reproduce your figure (referencing this website) in the book I am currently writing on cloud computing? It adds a bit of light relief!

Best regards,

Mark Williams (

data centre provider said...

Access to the data center API is usually restricted by the service provider.