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Cloudification: Stop Abusing the Cloud

Cloudification: Stop Abusing the Cloud

Cloudification: Stop Abusing the CloudCloudification: Stop Abusing the CloudAs far as buzzwords go, the "cloud" we so often refer to these days is about as fuzzy as it can get.

Even if we recognize that all buzzwords have a foremost slogan and marketing value, the meaning of the word is only loosely related to what we are attempting to say. Even worse, we have abused an already unfortunate word beyond repair. We should be able to come up with something much more appropriate, especially if the future of IT relies on more than a buzzword; a technology we understand and feel comfortable with.

Recently, I stumbled across this rather unusual press release issued by Gartner with the headline "Gartner Highlights Five Things That the Private Cloud Is Not". My first thought clearly was that reading Facebook status messages may be a better use of my time as another silly Top 5 list describing what we we know anyway.

As a journalist, you would use such a headline to compete for a top spot on news aggregation Web site such as Techmeme or Google News. On second thought, for a market research firm, this kind of headline was highly unusual. Not surprisingly, the article's content with five misconceptions about the private cloud, namely

  1. Private Cloud Is Not Virtualization
  2. Private Cloud Is Not Just About Cost Reduction
  3. Private Cloud Is Not Necessarily On-Premises
  4. Private Cloud Is Not Only Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  5. Private Cloud Is Not Always Going to Be Private

Some have expanded the list and created their Top-10 items from the original Top-5. I am sure many of you have your own two cents to add. It was this kind of attention that the press release received that got me thinking.

While there is plenty to criticize in the release - this press release is what we often and unflatteringly describe as "fluff" - there seems to be an interesting core message. If you were to ask why Gartner felt the need to issue a press release to the media and possibly some of its own customers, the short answer of the text may be:

Guys, you don't get it. Let's take a step back and let us explain the basics of what the private cloud really is.

Of course, depending on how long you have worked with, in and around clouds, you also know that Gartner's definition is only correct at this moment. There is a clear evolution to the technology and the understanding of what cloud computing really is.

Fifteen years ago, we listened to Oracle explain how to use the NC, or network computer in an environment that was darn close to what we would view as a private cloud today. Two years ago, the cloud, as we understand it today, was largely referred to as "SaaS" with a lack of the understanding how important the platform and infrastructure would be. There were sharp differences in what we believed the benefits of the cloud would be and what we believe today.

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Wolfgang GruenerWolfgang GruenerWolfgang Gruener is a contributor to Tom's IT Pro. He is currently principal analyst at Ndicio Research, a market analysis firm that focuses on cloud computing and disruptive technologies, and maintains the blog. An 18-year veteran in IT journalism and market research, he previously published TG Daily and was managing editor of Tom's Hardware news, which he grew from a link collection in the early 2000s into one of the most comprehensive and trusted technology news sources.

See here for all of Wolfgang's Tom's IT Pro articles.

(Shutterstock cover image credit: Cloud Jigsaw)