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Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger.

SoCal Burger
My efforts at cloud definitional work began with 15 Ways to Tell its Not Cloud Computing. In the intervening time the forces of complexity and, yes, pragmatism have triumphed. We’re now making the long transition from simple and public to complex and private – hopefully some simplicity will make it through the process.

Talking of simplicity, one of the problems in any tech wave is the problem of language. Cloud, like SOA before it, suffers from being everything and the kitchen sink. Funnily enough my name is an anagram of Removes Jargon, and in that spirit I just wanted to amplify some home spun wisdom from our very own Michael Coté.

The other day I was reading some of his notes and came across this line of beautiful simplicity.

a simple mapping:

  • IaaS = servers, storage
  • PaaS = middleware
  • SaaS = applications

There now, that wasn’t so hard was it? Now that is what I call a burger. The next time someone tries to take you through 30 slides explaining the cloud you can just nod sagely, and say… “ohhhh. you mean servers, middleware and apps. Yeah I get it.”

Categories: Cloud Computing.

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50 Responses

  1. Followrama: A 1ª rede de Followers 2.0 do Brasil! A única que busca Followers automaticamente! http://tinyurl.com/yf3ud8f #Followrama 14
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts VI-XI) http://twic.li/ieB
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. James Governor’s Monkchips » Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger. http://bit.ly/9KTY76
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  4. oh no, please no… we’ve just finished using the hamburger as a model/diagram for our virtualization strategy, not more hamburger charts… I’ll see if I can find one or two I can post on slideshare.net

  5. What if a vendor offers the meat, cheese and tomato to its customers?

  6. Please don’t! The 3-layer stack (whether it goes by IaaS/PaaS/SaaS or server/mw/apps) is the worst thing to equate Cloud to. Well, almost the worst. While it makes sense for a few topics (around the provisioning model and the relationship between the consumer and the provider) it is useless at best, and even misleading, for most actionable topics (providing, consuming, managing these services).

    At least that’s the point I tried to make on stage at Cloud Connect last week:
    http://stage.vambenepe.com/archives/1355

    Turning a misleading pyramid into a misleading burger doesn’t help.

  7. #SOA #Blogs Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger.:
    My efforts at cloud definitional.. http://bit.ly/avKtb6
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  8. #SOA #Blogs Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger.:
    My efforts at cloud definitional work began with… http://bit.ly/avKtb6
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  9. Defining #Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. http://ow.ly/1pBP4
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  10. [good read] Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger.:
    My efforts at cloud definitional work began with… http://bit.ly/b3lrBn
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  11. @renailemay A great post answering this from @monkchips… http://is.gd/aTHb9 (though doesn’t cover business model issues)
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  12. Use old terms for old concepts (servers, middleware, applications, hosting) and new terms for new concepts (elastic computing, pay-as-you-go, virtualization).
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  13. Nice post Alex, thanks for the link.
    I like the simplicity of MikeD’s approach. But virtualisation is certainly not a new concept – 40 years old at least.
    Also- we need to remember that defining something doesn’t solve the problems of rollout. SOA is a pretty good example – notably in the WS*I stack.
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  14. Virtualisation is also not intrinsically linked with cloud – you don’t see cloud providers like Facebook, Google & Twitter using it. Most of the noise about virtualisation is (unsurprisingly) coming from vendors selling virtualisation hardware and/or software.
    It’s also important to include products above (e.g. Android, ChromeOS, CloudPlug, etc.) and below (e.g. Cisco UCS, 3tera, VMware vCloud, SGI CloudRack etc.) the well accepted 3-layer stack if we’re to have a functional taxonomy – that is, one capable of classifying all the items in scope – without polluting the top (application) and bottom (infrastructure) layers respectively. That’s why I now use a 5 layer stack to explain cloud computing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cloud_Computing_Stack.svg
    In answer to your question about definitions, I think it is important and have spent the last few years trying to get to the bottom of it. This is the best I’ve been able to come up with so far (with the help of some fellow Wikipedians):
    "Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like a public utility."
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  15. MMMMmmmmm hamburgers… now where the hell am I going to find a good hamburger in Paris? *sigh*

  16. #Cisco #Cloud James Governor’s Monkchips » Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It …: Amazon android APIs appl… http://bit.ly/an7lNX #TCN
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  17. #Cisco #Cloud James Governor’s Monkchips » Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It …: Amazon android APIs appl… http://bit.ly/an7lNX #TCN
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  18. Take a step back for a moment. For whom are you trying to define cloud computing? Individual non-technical consumers who wouldn’t know middleware from Tupperware? Businesses that might need to turn to the cloud for services? Or is it strictly to policy makers and developers at this point?
    If it’s consumers, they generally don’t need in-depth analysis about what it is – just how it will benefit them and can they trust it from a privacy perspective. Business has similar needs, although in-house tech alters that to a certain extent because they will need to provide internal support. For the latter group, I don’t think the nuts and bolts matter as much as consensus on the problems that cloud computing aim to solve.
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  19. Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger.: Servers, middleware, applications. Is it really that simple? W… http://bit.ly/b1CAS0
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  20. Sam – true enough. But in the IaaS layer at least AWS and Red Hat are very very relevant – as de facto standard.

    Dan – best burger in Paris? There *must* be some good ones!

    Karen- my articulation is very much for practitioners. Civilians, or consumers as you call them, certainly don’t need to understand the stack. I think you’re actually agreeing with me somewhat about the technical side. “I don’t think the nuts and bolts matter as much as consensus on the problems that cloud computing aim to solve.”

    James GovernorMarch 24, 2010 @ 4:07 pmReply
  21. What is cloud computing? chk this Burger analogy and 15 ways to tell its not cloud compting piece by @monkchips http://bit.ly/afrcSd #SaaS
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  22. Sent @monkchip’s “Defining cloud is easy” blog entry to the Rational folks working on cloud stuff (because it’s right) http://bit.ly/aW08jw
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  23. Thanks @BillHiggins: @monkchips’ cloud definition is helpful as an ‘outside-in’ view http://bit.ly/aUm8nz
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  24. Sent @monkchips’ “Defining cloud is easy” blog entry to the Rational folks working on cloud stuff (because it’s right) http://bit.ly/aW08jw
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  25. The people over at Elastic Vapor also have commented on defining Cloud Computing, so much so to the point where they think the term "Cloud" is a marketing term of art that will soon run its course.
    http://tinyurl.com/yfl6j2r
    I’m an intern at Cloudshare, and I think I’m in agreement with the folks at Elastic Vapor in the sense that certain "cloud" applications need to be defined in the context of the goals they achieve for users as opposed to being defined as "Cloud Computing." I know that’s what my colleagues at Cloudshare have aimed to do in describing their turnkey solution.
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  26. Virtualisation is also not intrinsically linked with cloud – you don’t see cloud providers like Facebook, Google & Twitter using it. Most of the noise about virtualisation is (unsurprisingly) coming from vendors selling virtualisation hardware and/or software
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

    Ilan Ben MenachemMarch 26, 2010 @ 4:47 amReply
  27. RedMonk: Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger http://digbig.com/5bbhbt
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  28. Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger. http://bit.ly/9SJ1ZC
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  29. Love this: IaaS = servers, storage, PaaS = middleware, SaaS = applications: http://bit.ly/caQmWe #cloud
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  30. Oracle could be a cloud company. I would be suprised to see Oracle buy a company like Egnyte or Box to join the fun.
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

    Jon GrullMarch 29, 2010 @ 9:55 pmReply
  31. Egnyte seems to be a hot company that continues to rise the ranks of cloud offering companies. Nice pick Jon.
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  32. In the cloud Oracle would catch less fees for licenses, installations and maintenance.
    No such a good business idea for Oracle.
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  33. IMHO, it doesn’t really matter whether Oracle is a cloud company or not. At least Larry Ellison won’t care whether it is "cloud" enough or not.
    It kinda has everything now with the latest acquisition of SUN Microsystem. In other words, it can provide hardware, DB, Middleware, Application (whether on-premise or on-demand).
    This comment was originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

  34. Explaining IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, “ohhh. you mean servers, middleware and apps. Yeah I get it.” via @monkchips http://bit.ly/a497dQ #WhyCloud
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  35. Good clarity in @monkchips and his defn of cloud – “Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger.” http://tinyurl.com/y57sql7
    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  36. What if your infrastructure is done by a vegetarian? Is it now a Tofu implementation?

    • Malcolm- I resemble that remark! Never heard of a Veggie Burger? More problematic- I am trying to give up wating wheat! What no bap?

      jgovernorJuly 3, 2012 @ 4:01 pmReply
  37. The definition is sometimes away from reality. Some cloud services contain saas, iaas and paas in one.

    For example our platform SoftwareDEMO does not only host Software (iaas) but also provides access and administration to users (paas) and finally gets them there to work on that software in the cloud (saas)…



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] James Governor of RedMonk says the debate is like the ones we always see when we get hit with a new wave of technology. He quotes his colleague Michael Coté: :The other day I was reading some of his notes and came across this line of beautiful simplicity. a simple mapping: IaaS = servers, storage PaaS = middleware SaaS = applications [...]

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  3. [...] for the overall debate, most of our respondents to last week's question agreed with the RedMonk team on this one. The number one response [...]

  4. [...] for the overall debate, most of our respondents to last week's question agreed with the RedMonk team on this one. The number one response [...]

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  7. [...] workload analysis and triage, security and data governance, and explaining why the cloud is just the same old burger, with a new [...]

  8. [...] workload analysis and triage, security and data governance, and explaining why the cloud is just the same old burger, with a new [...]

  9. [...] cloud computing and Phil Wainewright is trying to describe its “unspoken benefits” and James Governor’s simplifications of cloud concepts, and all those efforts make me want to use words that you [...]

  10. [...] in middleware is chequered to say the least, and PaaS is modern shorthand for middleware in the stack burger. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to glean any technical details at all about the PaaS offering during [...]

  11. […] – Redmonk Analyst James Governor’s (@monkchips) definition of cloud discussed in his blog post here. Reuven Cohen’s definition (@ruv) from his ElasticVapor post had the least number of votes at […]