Cloud – You Bastard !!

By Subraya Mallya - October 2010 | Topics - Cloud Computing

The bastardization of term Cloud has exceeded all expectations and then some. It has gotten so crazy that not a single technology discussion goes by without someone tossing around the word Cloud but has no innate association with the real Cloud.

If the technology geeks debating about it is not funny enough we have clowns from Wall Street talking about Cloud Computing with absolutely no understanding of the term or the significance. I am sure to get a tweet from Jim Cramer expressing his vehement objection to my characterization of his pals.

As Larry Ellison says – the nitwits on Sand Hill Road are all over it too. Every one that has invested in any startup building a technology for “Cloud” thinks the whole world is going to turn upside down when their technology hits the market and they will be there to save the planet.

I hear Saturday Night Live is working on an entire episode dedicated to Cloud Computing. Not to be left behind the ever progressive Congress got involved and appointed a commission to probe into the doings of the miscreants. Given the widespread confusion and the outcry around Cloud it was fair that Congress got involved and setup a committee to investigate the culprits that have defamed, abused and bastardized Cloud. The recent jib-jab between Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff during the recently concluded Oracle OpenWorld is supposed to have triggered this intervention by Congress.

So after a detailed inquiry, Congress appointed Judge Judy to head the inquiry and take appropriate action on the perpetrators. Here are some excerpts from the courtroom of Judge Judy which the whole world anxiously waited to hear.

Honorable Judge Judy is presiding over the Cloud Computing Bastardization case. The defendants Marc Benioff, Larry Ellison, Marc Zuckerberg, Alex Edelstein (the CEO of CloudCrowd), and executives from hosting companies, that have been pretending to be Clouds, with their respective attorneys are seated right in front. An ocean of press, media, bloggers are all seated with their camera already flashing.

Let us listen in.

Judge Judy: So Gentlemen, We have all converged here to understand the widespread confusion that has been perpetrated around the Cloud.  I have been informed by my technology advisers Mr NIST (the definitions guy) and Mr Werner Vogels (the father of Cloud, pending paternity test) that a significant amount of GDP of our country has been spent on arguing about whose definition of Cloud is correct. I have also heard that threats have been made by placing tall machines/boxes next to the opposition to intimidate them. So let me tell you right of the bat, in my courtroom, we will all be civil and act like grownups and not make fun of each other.

Larry, Benioff, Edelstein, Zuckerberg and all the no-name hosting guys nod their head and say “Yes Your Honor” and sit down. Camera’s flash abound as Judge Judy tries to position her best cheek towards the camera.

Judge Judy: Mr Benioff, Your company Salesforce.com has been synonymous with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).  It has been charged that you have taken undue advantage of that leadership position. In fact, there is clear evidence presented here that you have misrepresented what was until now an ordinary SaaS application and started calling it Cloud.  What do you have to say about that?

Marc Benioff: Your Honor, Salesforce.com has been the leader in Cloud. As soon as I saw Al Gore’s invention, the internet, was taking off, I quit Oracle and started looking at this cloud thingy. Since the platform was not completely ready at that time, following our agile methodology and iterating through our product idea, we started with the first iteration and called it Software-as-a-Service. Our goal was always to be the Cloud. So once we had the platform ready we realized that everything we do is in cloud and so decided to change the name of all things we do to Cloud. Hence Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Force Cloud. We have many more clouds that are in the works.

Larry Ellison: (Bursting out into a laughter). A puny little platform is not a Cloud. (another burst of laughter)

Judge Judy: Mr Ellison, this is not your boat. This is my courtroom. Behave yourself. Now tell me what is so funny.

Larry Ellison: Your Honor. I completely agree with the charges against Benioff. Calling a small sales automation application a Sales Cloud is ludicrous. That is like Oracle calling our Database – “Database Cloud” because it is used all over the world. I don’t see Matt Mullenweg walking around calling his WordPress a “Blog Cloud” even though both of us have a larger user base than the tiny sales application Benioff is crowing about. In fact, we have been doing the real cloud with Oracle On-Demand since 2000. We even had a Oracle Exchange Marketplace which technically qualified as Cloud but we never ventured to call ourselves Cloud. The word Cloud has no meaning.

Judge Judy: Okay Okay. Zip It. Enough of your rant. You never know when to stop.  Getting back to you Mr Benioff, what the heck is a Sales Cloud? Do sales people float in the Cloud while selling or do they sell the Cloud itself? I thought your application allowed sales people to enter their sales leads and manage the opportunity and book orders. Can you elaborate which part of that is Cloud?

Larry Ellison: Precisely what I have been saying all along Your Honor.

Mr Benioff: Our sales application is running on servers that sit in our data center. Our customers do not need to buy those big bad servers and manage them. We manage it for them. All they do is give us their credit card and off they go. That is cloud.

Judge Judy: I have to agree with Ellison here. It seems like you are running a small departmental software and renting it to people to use. I don’t see any clouds or rain here. Sit down Mr Benioff. We will talk about how to deal with your egregious act.

Now to you Mr Ellison, What is the deal with you going around mocking Cloud Computing while your company is secretly releasing products that are supposedly Cloudified? Also what is the deal with intimidating your guests at your conference with boxes taller than them just because they don’t agree with Oracle’s version of Cloud.

Larry Ellison: Your Honor. First of all let me tell you a little bit about America Cup and How we brought that cup to US for the first time. It was the most exhilarating thing ever.

Judge Judy: Hold on. What has America Cup it got to do with Cloud Computing? This is not one of your customer support calls where you divert the attention of a customer who is pissed of with the product quality. We are all here to talk about Cloud and its bastardization. Let us stick to it. Shall we?

Larry Ellison: Sure Your Honor. I just felt proud as an American so brought it up. I think the whole cloud thing is a cult. People who cannot compete with our burgeoning technology empire are throwing up the whole Cloud thing. These days anything and everything is a cloud. Look at this guy Edelstein. He has a bunch of hired people signed up to do odd jobs and he calls his company CloudCrowd. Tomorrow we will hear my gardener calling his pool of people are Lawn Cloud or Garden Cloud. If GM was not shutdown they would have called their dealerships – Dealer Cloud. When does this idiocy stop? We are spewing all this nonsense instead of solving critical problems world is facing.  We had no choice. We could either spend marketing dollars to combat this crap or do something so this noise stops. I don’t think 80% of the world knows or cares about cloud. They just want their problems solved.  As for the boxes taller than Benioff. That is our Exa- Series of products. That is the only way to make him behave. He comes to my conference and berates me. Just like Benioff is naming everything around him as Cloud, we are calling our product Exa<whatever>.  We are even thinking of changing our company name from Oracle to Example going forward.

Judge Judy: Okay, okay fair enough. You Mr Edelstein. What in the world is a CrowdCloud? Aren’t you just like Manpower Resources or like cheap version of EDS. What is Cloud in the CloudCrowd?

Alex EdelStein: Your Honor, we have optimized the whole process of hiring contract labor across the world and getting work done. We have specialized expertise in ensuring that work is done at the lowest cost at best quality. We manage all of that using an application that is hosted in Cloud.

Judge Judy: I don’t get it. Does that mean all the BPOs companies operating out of India are all Cloud companies now?  From what I see you are just using Facebook and building an app on it to manage tasks and billing customers for the work done. Companies have been doing this for eons. This is ridiculous.

So why is Zuckerberg here. I thought we already met last week on the Facebook privacy issues and you promised to provide users with ability to download their data and provide more opt-in options in Facebook. Do you also think Facebook is a Cloud. What is it called – Time Waste Cloud?

Mark Zuckerberg: Your Honor. No your Honor. (Swiping the sweat) We have nothing to do with Cloud. We are busy building larger user base and keeping Google out of it. All your concerns around Google having access to all your data will be neutralized once we get all the users into Facebook. Facebook has become so influential that someone thought it is essential to  include Facebook in all discussions. In some way we represent the sentiment of the world. So I am here.

Judge Judy: Ok. Ok. Not sure people sharing their embarrassing photos constitutes sentiments. But I will let you have it. As an aside, Mr. Zuckerberg,  I just thought you should know that my high school, back in Brooklyn is also in terrible financial shape. They could also do with a nice check like the school on other side of the ditch.

I have heard all the arguments and I am ready to give my verdict.

Verdict

Mr Benioff, The court commends you for all the work you have done to further Cloud Computing. That said, the court finds you grossly misusing your leadership position to tag everything in sight as Cloud. This court recommends that you cut down this Chatter about Cloud. Let this be known, if you are selling software you are selling software. There is no cloud in it. Also we are putting a restraining order to bar you from attending future OpenWorlds for your own personal safety from tall machines.

Mr Ellison, While the court agrees with your opinion on the nonsensical CloudWashing going on, you do not get to then turnaround and come out with your own version of Cloud. You are hereby directed to explain your cloud strategy clearly so there is no confusion. Stop challenging multi-tenancy. We checked with GE they said they are fine with Multi-tenancy and they use it in many technologies like Aravo. You were one of the first to market the partitioning technology called Virtual Private Databases that companies can use to segment one customer data from other. You are changing tunes faster that my iTunes player.

Mr Edelstein: You should seriously consider selling your company to Zuckerberg. He has the Crowd and his social site is in the cloud – so the name might be more apt there.

Mr Zuckerberg: Go back to Palo Alto and implement those privacy features you promised. I hope we don’t meet again soon now that your movie is out.

All of you no-name hosting guys, Stop attaching yourself to Cloud like a tick and just focus on what your truly doing. Don’t mislead people by calling website hosting as Cloud.

Mr Vogels and The NIST guy, The court would like to thank you for your advice on this matter.

This is a short excerpt of the case. You can order the entire case in its full form with extra jokes from Larry Ellison’s on iTunes Apple Cloud for $4.99 or Netflix Movie Cloud for $4.99.  If you are not on Comcast Cloud or AT&T DSL Cloud, you can order the DVD by calling this telephone number: 1-800-Y-CLOUD.

This is a production of U-SPAN Television. All Rights are Reserved.

Mia Culpa: Personally I am not immune to the whole Cloud Washing. My blog has a Cloud suffix – PrudentCloud too. I would try to defend myself by saying, I started the blog way before the Cloud Fever spread, but then that would be hypocritical. I am as culpable, if not more, as the scores of others who are posing as false clouds.

Disclaimer: This is just a pigment of my imagination and a humorous take on all the noise and counter claims made around Cloud which has aroused interest across all walks of life.

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