So precisely what IS the cloud?

Continuing our crash course in the cloud, this article by David Ebsworth on attempts to answer that question. Sadly he concludes very early on in the article that:

“End users are being hindered by the fact one provider defines the cloud as something entirely different from the next.”

Not encouraging. He mitigates his comment with the obvious fact that cloud computing is still evolving and will continue to change very fast for the foreseeable future, so when reading comments – especially negative – it’s important to be aware of just which definition of “the cloud” the commentator has in mind.

Ebsworth goes on to look at what the cloud is capable of, making the important point that:

“Whether or not it was called the cloud, the platforms that drive on-demand IT have existed for some time.”

It’s not the johnny-come-lately many people imagine it to be, much like open source. Ebsworth reckons that the term “cloud” itself is one of the problems cloud computing faces, but goes on to say that:

“Fractured meaning shouldn’t dilute its message of agile IT services without the need for large capital outlay.”

– which is obviously a positive message, but:

“To a responsible provider, the cloud conjures images of safety, security and flexibility, but to a user with a fearful view the mere mention can mean a loss of control and intermittent service.”

We could publish great chunks of this article as it’s thoughtful and useful examination of just what the cloud is, or might be, or could be, or isn’t. Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions, and perhaps leave a comment here to let us know what those conclusions are.

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