Staffing Software Talk takes a very hard-boiled and boiled down approach:
For those of you not already plugged into this latest addition to tech jargon, you can read more about cloud computing here. But actually I wouldn’t waste your time. If you’re over 50 just think “service bureau”. 30 to 49, think “Application Service”, and 20 to 30 “SAAS (Software As A Service)”. If under 20 then cloud is everything you need in your online life – amazon, ebay, facebook, myspace, gmail.
Gregg certainly has a point that there is “nothing new” about the core concepts behind cloud, although I would argue its reimplementation of these ideas which gives them their current strength. I also think its notable that Gregg’s definition points to an age-related segmentation. I have to say that Gregg’s leap from there to 3 Ways To Tell Its Not A Cloud didn’t really chime with my understanding.
1. If it leaves you with unintegrated systems, it’s not cloud computing.
2. If it leaves you with non-revenue generating IT and data entry staff, it’s not cloud computing.
3. If it doesn’t eliminate your paper processes, it’s not cloud computing.
1. I disagree because of David Weinberger’s core Web design pattern of Small Pieces, Loosely Joined. Often integration is left to the user, which is no bad thing. Cloud componentry should be loosely-coupled, taking advantage of service orientation. Of course integration-as-packaging has value, but we must be careful not to simply recreate monoliths in the cloud.
2. Not all powerful and useful cloud services will be “revenue generating”. Take data archiving for regulatory purposes for example, which is a necessity but doesn’t drive revenue. Data Backup is another extremely useful cloud service. It may not drive revenues but its vital to a business.
3. I like the promise behind this definition, especially given the dog’s breakfast state of so many of our paper-based processes, but it ends up feeling more like Office 2.0 than cloud to me. Clearly IT should help to remove laborious paper-based processes, but arguably that’s true of any application, cloud-based or not.
picture courtesy of Wikipedia via the US Library of Congress