A blockbuster year for jargon creep in Cloud

By Subraya Mallya - December 2010 | Topics - Cloud Computing

As we end the year 2010, a year that can be considered as  a blockbuster year for Cloud Computing, I thought it was time to take a look back. The rhetoric around “True” Cloud and “False” Cloud is still bustling along with gay abandon. The year began with Larry Ellison chiding – “What the hell is Cloud Computing” and year ended with “Who the hell is not in Cloud Computing“.

While some companies spent their valuable time delivering amazing solutions to the Cloud problems, the large majority that did not have much to say resorted to dishing out Jargons. Here are the top jargons that crept into our vocabulary in 2010

Jargon Creep

Private Cloud: With due credit to the definition of the venerable NIST, the term “Private” Cloud is the biggest oxymoron out there. For starters, everybody knows who is behind it, the HOMIS (HP, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and SAP) and for good reason. The more public cloud permeates into the enterprises, the more they stand to lose. Hence they are doing everything to protect their territory.  What about the government needs of Private Cloud you ask? There the cocoon of System Integrators take the mantle of pushing the Private Cloud manifesto.

CloudWashing: A love child of brainwashing and car-washing I guess. It is a practice where companies and individuals find weird (would not classify it as creative) ways to associate their products/service with the Cloud phenomenon. In most cases the actual solution might have very little to do with true cloud computing. While there were enough examples of the overreach, Microsoft takes the cake as they take all of us “To the Cloud! Yay!“.

Cloudify: Cloud enabling an application, service or a data center. In most instances the conversion is not comprehensive but that does not stop people from calling their solution a Cloud solution. You will hear a lot of web hosting companies or private data centers using this term. Software companies, Application Developers of on-premise application are also guilty of using this term to join the cloud bandwagon. Some stretch the truth here by just saying their application works both in Cloud and on-premise.  If you did not get it, they were joking.

Cloud Database: A recent phenomenon perpetuated by the Cloud vendors. A recent announcement by Salesforce.com has all but given legitimacy to that term. What is a Cloud Database? A database is a database – Cloud or no cloud. The architecture or technology behind them might be different, but then again the need for scale is there nonetheless. To meet the horizontal scaling need, due to the enormous data explosion, we already have File based Databases, Column based databases and the like under the NOSQL umbrella. I don’t think we need to artificially create a new class of databases “Cloud databases” just because they are used in cloud. Amazon has already successfully commoditized a scale down usage based database hosting via MySQL hosting and did not even have to resort to jargon-dumping.

Workload Portability: You will be forgiven if, upon hearing the term, your thoughts went to some mechanical industry or some labor intensive work. For the uninitiated, Workload Portability, in the context for cloud,  is the ability to seamlessly shift compute and/or storage capacity between cloud providers to meet demand fluctuations. In other cases it could be a need during a decision to switch cloud provider. While this term has more appropriateness than the other terms in the list, the term has gained significant face-time since Cloud became the fashion. Not many PowerPoint slide decks go without having this term mentioned. A search in Google show 1.5M results.

Cloud Application: If ever the phrase “Make hay when the sun shines” seemed apt, it is now. And making hay they are – any/all solution that is hosted is now tagged with the Cloud prefix or suffix. Even the SaaS vendors, who were doing well for themselves, seem to be jumping the bandwagon and calling themselves Cloud vendors. Serious identity crisis indeed.

Now with these new jargons firmly tucked into our vocabulary, here is to hoping that the Cloud technology vendors focus on solving critical problems that are in the way of True Cloud Computing.

Happy Holidays and a great year ahead.

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