Is "In The Cloud" helping understanding?

By: Steve Hughes - 23/09/2011

Having joined Colt in 2008, Steve Hughes is the leading Cloud and Virtualisation specialist for Colt Enterprise Services. Catch up with Steve’s latest views at http://www.twitter.com/coltandthecloud.

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Has the phrase “in the cloud” become such a catch-all that any attempt to define cloud computing is doomed to failure?  Is the industry cloud weary and now turning back to the business challenge of how to harness IT to get to market faster or do business differently?

With the recent publication of the Gartner hype cycle and subsequent articles that “cloud is now meaningless” I was tempted to write about why “the cloud” terminology was always doomed to failure and then realised that there is nothing new under the sun because we talked about this a while ago.

Back in November 2009, we pointed to the US NIST definition of Cloud computing“an IT operating model; a means of deploying applications that abstracts compute, storage, network, and application network resources in order to provide uniform, on-demand scalability and reliability of application delivery”.

And concluded:

“In the Cloud" has, unfortunately, devolved into little more than a trendy reference for any consumer-facing application delivered over the Internet.  "The Cloud" has become a consumer concept. It represents a way of describing commercial Internet applications to create, update, and delete personal and/or professional information.

NIST is revisiting this definition at the moment but it’s still useful.  What has happened since then is a proliferation of cloud related terms and an increasing number of service providers big and small climbing on the band wagon to avoid being left out of the cloud conversation.  CFOs and other business leaders should be forgiven for becoming cloud weary.  They are now giving up the wait for the nirvana of op-ex only costs that can be turned on or off at the drop of a hat, and turning back to the question of how technology can help business become faster, more agile and more successful.

It is clearly useful to differentiate between  private, public and hybrid models when talking about cloud.  Discussions about regulatory requirements driven by individual European country laws or industry regulatory bodies will fuel yet more questions about which model is best but what really matters is what businesses are trying to achieve and how the new technology model that is cloud can be used.  Cloud is not a product that you buy.  It’s a new way of using technology that will radically change IT forever.

So, is Colt “in the cloud”? No.

Are we a provider of enterprise cloud services that help our customers change the way they do business?  Yes.


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