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15 Ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing

If you peel back the label and its says “Grid” or “OGSA” underneath… its not a cloud.

If you need to send a 40 page requirements document to the vendor then… it is not cloud.

If you can’t buy it on your personal credit card… it is not a cloud

If they are trying to sell you hardware… its not a cloud.

If there is no API… its not a cloud.

If you need to rearchitect your systems for it… Its not a cloud.

If it takes more than ten minutes to provision… its not a cloud.

If you can’t deprovision in less than ten minutes… its not a cloud.

If you know where the machines are… its not a cloud.

If there is a consultant in the room… its not a cloud.

If you need to specify the number of machines you want upfront… its not a cloud.

If it only runs one operating system… its not a cloud.

If you can’t connect to it from your own machine… its not a cloud.

If you need to install software to use it… its not a cloud.

If you own all the hardware… its not a cloud.

If it takes 20 slides to explain…. its not a cloud [update: 4:58 4th February 2009]

with input from Alexis Richardson, of CohesiveFT’s Elastic Server on Demand, nicely written up here by Phil Wainewright.

image courtesy of Mike9Alive under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Categories: Uncategorized.

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83 Responses

  1. nice cull..

    not sure.. if I agree with the “If you know where the machines are… its not a cloud.”

    most times the DC is known fact along with fail over locations

  2. If James Governor says its not a cloud… its not a cloud.

    Nice list but I too don’t necessarily agree with the “if you know where the machines are” part. In “fog computing” (http://stage.vambenepe.com/archives/165) I have argued that some level of visibility into the internals of utility computing is needed.

  3. Someone has stolen all of the apostrophes…

  4. Indeed, brevity is the soul of wit. A great list.

    On the “only runs one operating system… its not a cloud” do you mean on the consumer side? . . . since I don’t know where the machines are, I assume I don’t know what they are running? Hmm, maybe I am missing something . . .

  5. James – did you mean to describe utility computing? If so, I think you nailed it. But I think Cloud Computing runs a lot deeper than just that surface perception. I’d be interest in your comments: http://gh-linux.blogspot.com/2008/03/is-cloud-computing-nothing-but-utilty.html

  6. A lot of your entries are dead wrong. I will be creating a counter post on my blog this evening.

    Johnmwillis.com

  7. So – who confirms to your list (except maybe Amazon).

    All the vendors I know break at least 2-3 rules of yours

  8. so Salesforce.com isn’t a cloud? (It only runs one OS). Nor Google? Nor Microsoft? I think what you’re saying is “it’s not a bunch of x86 servers waiting to be put into use.” And that, to me, isn’t a cloud.

    Pete BrucesterMarch 18, 2008 @ 5:49 amReply
  9. Funny list. Your post (by way of Enterprise 2.0’s blog) got me thinking about the “cloud” as a term being coupled with technology (e.g., “computing”).

    My musings are here.

    Either a marketeer or an engineer or both are turning in their graves…

  10. Im just a novice but can someone tell me where should I be hosting. Who can give me robust, scalable and sleep at night system. It seems that all I can find is marketing hype. joyent, rackspace, he.net – and the full spectrum of hosting providers but yet they either lack support, technical knowledge or or too much hype.

  11. I believe FlexiScale does fit all the items on this list, but *shock horror*, I don’t actualy believe that Amazon does.

    “If you need to rearchitect your systems for it… Its not a cloud”.

    Nobody can seriously state that they didn’t have to rearchitect their (existing) systems to cope with:

    The lack of static ip addresses (finally fixed as of today) & the lack of permenent storage (having to use S3, ever tried running a DB from EC2?).

    I had a meeting recently with one EC2 & S3 customer, he told me it took him 3 months to port his existing application to Amazon, we worked out it would take him less than 3 hours to move it to FlexiScale.

    Don’t get me wrong, Amazon is doing great things for this industry, just that point doesn’t ring true :)

    Tony.

  12. Hi,

    though there are some good points in your list, I can’t totally agree with it. Any of the vendors I know, break one or more of the rules, so who did you have in mind? Even GoogleAppEngine with is touted “Cloud Computing” requires to reengineer Applications not written in Python. So I guess we have to define several classes of clouds. One being more focussed on software providing Cloud-APIs like GAE or force.com and another type offering flexible service and/or server provisioning based on offerings like AWS or Mosso.
    Just my 0.02€
    Roland

  13. Litmus test for me is – between the time you decide you want additional capacity and the time you get the capacity is 2-4 weeks. i.e a Purchase Order to get the new Capacity.

    Implying a people/process driven hardware provisioning environment.

    Check out the link.

    http://www.gandalf-lab.com/blog/2008/10/comparing-appengine-ec2-and-caroline.html

  14. The above did not come out correctly-
    Litmus test -if between the time you decide you want additional capacity(hardware / more customer seats) and the time you get the capacity is 2-4 weeks it is not Cloud Computing i.e a Purchase Order to get the additional capacity. Implying a people/process driven hardware provisioning environment , Capital Investment – non utility

    Check out the link.

    http://www.gandalf-lab.com/blog/2008/10/comparing-appengine-ec2-and-caroline.html

  15. Heyo guys!

    So after a few months, does this ring true now?

    I’d say it’s close and should be closer…

    Best.
    alain
    mor.ph

  16. I thoroughly disagree with this “backwards” definition of cloud computing. James Staten of Forrester defines Cloud Computing as “A pool of highly scalable, abstracted infrastructure, capable of hosting end-customer applications, that is billed by consumption.” This is a definition that is amenable and extensible to the enterprise. This list of “nots” is not.

    > If you peel back the label and its says “Grid” or “OGSA” underneath… its not a cloud.

    Cloud computing as defined by Staten can be delivered from a variety of architectures, including Grids or SalesForce’s Big Iron. That’s the point of the cloud: abstracted infrastructure.

    > If you need to send a 40 page requirements document to the vendor then… it is not cloud.

    More and more cloud vendors are offering solutions rather than cpu cycles. CPU cycles are great for programmers, but businesses want to solve business problems. Without a definition of what the customer’s problem is, and an honest and transparent reply from the cloud vendor, you are running on hopes and dreams instead of a known value delivery system. The result is that the companies most successful with Amazon have dedicated staff and management to ensure a successful cloud deployment and to make sure Amazon doesn’t change something underneath that breaks their app. Where is the savings in that?

    > If you can’t buy it on your personal credit card… it is not a cloud

    Businesses don’t like to pay for expenses on personal (or business) credit cards. In fact, they prefer a budgetable monthly spend which of course contradicts with consumption billing. Our customers *don’t want* to pay by credit card, by and large. Only the web2.0-in-a-garage startups are interested in credit card payment: possibly because they’re financing their business that way.

    > If they are trying to sell you hardware… its not a cloud.

    This seems like it should be true. However, corporate customers are reticent to send internal data out into a public cloud. Why wouldn’t they buy hardware from a cloud vendor to get similar advantages, delivered internally?

    > If there is no API… its not a cloud.

    You won’t get much disagreement from me on that, but most of our customers aren’t interested in an API, so they probably would disagree. They just want to deploy and go, not write their own cloud operating system.

    > If you need to rearchitect your systems for it… Its not a cloud.

    That would be nice, but I haven’t seen one cloud that doesn’t require some rearchitecting. Wholesale rearchitecting is often required to get around Amazon’s peccadilloes, and even the AppLogic system we deploy on, despite it’s virtual datacenter analogy, still has some characteristics that require minor architecture changes for some applications. Whether or not you have to rearchitect depends more on how much you encoded your expectations of the hardware environment into your code than it does the particular cloud you deploy to.

    > If it takes more than ten minutes to provision… its not a cloud. If you can’t deprovision in less than ten minutes… its not a cloud.

    Where are you measuring the time period from? We can bring up a virtual private data center in the cloud in 2 minutes. But our customers often take days, weeks, or months to figure out how they want to provision from the moment they decide to. For businesses, the time from decision to deployment is a better measure than time to provision.

    > If you know where the machines are… its not a cloud.

    This simply points up disagreements about the definition. Most customers who demand high performance (say, running Oracle) and certification (say, HIPAA) both want and need to know where the machines are. They are unlikely to deploy to clouds where the architecture is so opaque that they can’t meet their requirements.

    > If there is a consultant in the room… its not a cloud.
    This is false on two counts. First, those companies who have successfully deployed their entire operations to the Amazon cloud have dedicated staff to manage Amazon deployment. Call them “internal consultants” if you will – people whose job is to manage/consult on the cloud. Second, a large number of reseller/consultants have sprung up to facilitate the use of Amazon. Amazon is becoming something like a physical server: you need someone to run it for you. These consulting/reselling companies do that. They may not be “in the room” however, which is one of the benefits of Cloud Computing: it creates an internet-enabled ecosystem of knowledge workers you can use with your application without providing a cube for them.

    > If you need to specify the number of machines you want upfront… its not a cloud.

    This is an assumption that Amazon has catered to. If you do the math, you’ll see that Amazon bought it’s cloud business by selling under its costs. Especially in the early days, keeping huge reserve capacity up and running was a cost that was not passed on to the users. Many of today’s cloud providers manage their inventory of physical hardware to reduce their costs, by offering discounts on usage to customers based on contracts. This will (and does) lower the prices for customers over the “big daddy in the sky with infinite computing power” cloud model. You’re going to see more of it. If cloud computing is a commodity with perfect competition, like air travel, you’re going to see vendors deploying intense strategies to manage their unused capacity.

    > If you need to install software to use it… its not a cloud.

    Cloud computing and open source seem to go hand in hand. My experience is that each of my customers wants a different version of their operating system, database, etc. Cloud vendors typically provide a library of code images, but they cannot custom-configure to meet an individuals’ needs. The trick is not avoiding installation, but making it easy.

    > If you own all the hardware… its not a cloud.

    There definitely are cloud providers out there who have their customers lease the underlying hardware, which defeats the concept of usage-based billing. However, your statement would get puzzled looks from many large enterprises who run their own clouds.

    -Eric Novikoff
    ENKI

  17. Once again earning the moniker “The Insightful James Governor”.

    Cloud as Larry Ellison put it so dearly, is FASHION. Still, if you wouldnt be caught dead in last years pink, you cant do better than to rely on the best Brit tailors to cut a suit to your fit.

    Thumbs up again James.

  18. If you are James Governor you are in the Clouds

  19. If it takes 20 slides to explain? That is a dumb one. If it takes 400 slides to attempt to explain and you get back to, uh so it is just a new word for an ASP. Then it is a cloud.

    Jaxon NiceFebruary 10, 2009 @ 8:27 pmReply
  20. If it doesn’t work with any standard and recent browser it’s not cloud

    Actually that would almost be my first Point!

  21. Good list.

    Three big benefits of cloud computing from my perspective:

    a) If it doesn’t enable department-level cost accounting for resource use then it isn’t cloud.

    b) If it doesn’t enable inexpensive functional and load testing then it isn’t cloud.

    c) If it doesn’t run inside and outside of your datacenter it isn’t cloud.

    -Frank

  22. Interesting point of view. These are some pretty high standards :)

    What does buying it on a credit card have to do with whether or not it’s a cloud?

    “If you own all the hardware… its not a cloud.” — What about internal clouds?

    It’s always cool to see how others view the “cloudy” landscape. Thanks for a fun read!

  23. Wow.

    If you can’t buy it on your personal credit card… it is not a cloud

    (ever heard of a private cloud??)

    If they are trying to sell you hardware… its not a cloud.

    (again, private cloud requires hardware…I’d be happy to work with a hardware vendor to help build out a rock solid private cloud environment)

    If there is no API… its not a cloud.

    (so simple infrastructure as a service is not a cloud??)

    If you need to rearchitect your systems for it… Its not a cloud.

    (addressing I/O constraints to run optimally should not be taken into account???)

    If it takes more than ten minutes to provision… its not a cloud.
    (agreed)

    If you can’t deprovision in less than ten minutes… its not a cloud.
    (agreed)

    If you know where the machines are… its not a cloud.

    (lets not forget that technologies like flex address and flex connect, knowing is still a good thing)

    If there is a consultant in the room… its not a cloud.

    (what?!? people hire consultants for life coaching…if that’s possible…a good architect to manage your data consolidation plans is probably money well spent)

    If you need to specify the number of machines you want upfront… its not a cloud.
    (agreed)

    If it only runs one operating system… its not a cloud.

    (So….Azure isn’t cloud???)

    If you can’t connect to it from your own machine… its not a cloud.
    (agreed)

    If you need to install software to use it… its not a cloud.

    (that depends completely on what you are using it for…an all purpose cloud is not for everyone)

    If you own all the hardware… its not a cloud.
    (again….private clouds for the win)

  24. It looks like some people here don’t understand what is meant by ‘API’ – the key is that it must be possible for software to start/stop servers and do all other interactions with the cloud service provider without any human intervention. If I have to log on somewhere and press a button to start a new server and my load balancing system can’t do that for me … it’s not a cloud.

  25. Add to this list

    “if it’s a Microsoft TV advert promoting cloud – it’s not cloud!”

  26. If it strips 99% of the apostrophes from your blog posts, it’s not a cloud.



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] James Governor’s Monkchips » 15 Ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing Very nicely nailed list (tags: cloudcomputing) […]

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  36. […] James Governor’s Monkchips » 15 Ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing If you peel back the label and its says “Grid” or “OGSA” underneath… its not a cloud. […]

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  42. […] This is a bit older, but a friend just passed it along today (thx Ed!): “15 ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing“ […]

  43. 15 Ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing…

    領域確保に10分以上かかるのであれば、、、 それはクラウドではない 10分未満で領域解放ができないのであれば、、、 それはクラウドではない…

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  48. […] of the exact definition of cloud computing running around. We’re about a country mile away from “knowing when I see it,” which is excellent progress. The cloud to everyone’s silver lining has enough material to write a […]

  49. […] Hauska lista mikä ei ole pilvipalvelu […]

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  52. […] This is a bit older, but a friend just passed it along today (thx Ed!): “15 ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing“ […]

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