It's official: 'Cloud computing' is now meaningless

Gartner's 2011 hype cycle shows that cloud computing is entering the trough of disillusionment; few are as cloud-centric as they claim.

I have to credit my good friend and fellow blogger Brenda Michelson for relaying to me that yet another Gartner hype cycle report is now out. You can expect to see its accompanying graphic (below) used in every vendor's presentation from now on. (There must be a law or something.)

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Some of the better analyses of the report came from Louis Columbus, whose abstracts were pretty spot-on regarding the report's issues. This included the fact that "Gartner states that nearly every vendor who briefs them has a cloud computing strategy, yet few have shown how their strategies are cloud-centric. Cloud-washing on the part of vendors across all 34 technology areas is accelerating the entire industry into the trough of disillusionment."

Everyone out there is promoting their product as "cloud-centric" when they have very little or nothing that appears cloudlike. The concept of private clouds compounds the problem; it's much easier to spin any on-premise technologies into the cloud. That's old news, but lately it's getting much worse.

Here's the dilemma: If everything is promoted as cloud-centric, no matter if the vendors actually changed the technology to support cloud computing concepts, then cloud computing is all-encompassing. Therefore, cloud computing is no longer emerging, but stands as the the state of all things computing. Right?

Clearly, the term "cloud computing" has lost most of its meanings and core attributes. This occurred not by anybody redefining what it is, but by billions of marketing dollars that simply shout down the thought leaders in this space who call BS on all the cloud-washing.

I think we've officially lost the war on defining the core attributes of cloud computing so that businesses and IT can make proper use of it. It's now in the hands of marketing organizations and PR firms who, I'm sure, will take the concept on a rather wild ride over the next few years.

Trough of disillusionment, indeed.

This article, "It's official: 'Cloud computing' is now meaningless," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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