I'm writing this blog on the way back from Cloud Connect held this week in Santa Clara. It was a good show, all in all, and there was a who's-who in the world of cloud computing. I've really never seen anything like the hype around cloud computing, possibly because you can pretty much "cloudwash" anything, from disk storage to social networking. Thus, traditional software vendors are scrambling to move to the cloud, at least from a messaging perspective, to remain relevant. If I was going to name a theme of the conference, it would be "Ready or not, we're in the cloud."
[ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in the InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report, featuring an exclusive excerpt from David Linthicum's new book on cloud architecture. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]
But beyond the vendor hype, it was clear at the conference that several issues are emerging, even if the solutions remain unclear:
Common definitions: Everyone is defining the same cloud computing concepts, such as private, public, hybrid, community, virtualization, and multitenancy, a bit differently -- OK, very differently. Individual talks would provide a very different interpretation about what it means to be a private cloud than other talks did. The worst offenders were presenters selling traditional on-premise software and trying to push their square pegs of technology into the round holes of cloud computing, conveniently co-opting the "private cloud" label in their pitches.
Standards: Everyone strives for standards, but no one ever seems to get there. While the push for standards in the world of cloud computing is real, cloud computing standards, best said by NIST's Lee Badger at my panel yesterday, are largely just a series of white papers at this point. There's nothing real in terms of detailed guidance.
Nobody disagrees that we need standards, but I've yet to see detailed standards emerge that provides enough guidance for every provider to get on the same page. There's a good reason why real standards may not emerge: Over beers, many cloud computing providers admitted they consider standards as the first step to commoditization, something they would rather not see this early in the emerging market. In short, many of them talk standards, but sell proprietary.