Cloud computing's sad state: Innovation is in scarce supply

While everyone copies one another or rebrands old software as the private cloud, enterprise buyers must sniff out real value

There are two prominent cloud technology strategies these days. First: Let's copy everything Amazon Web Services (AWS) is doing. (You know who you are!) Second: Let's rebrand our old technology as a private cloud.

The lack of innovation and creativity in cloud computing is beginning to bug me, and it should bug those of you in enterprise IT. Here's how to spot technology providers that are, er, innovation-challenged.

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What's lacking is new ideas: specifically, ideas that bring different approaches to familiar problems. Ideas that should lead to new technology and service categories, as well as bring much more value to the enterprise. However, most of the bigger cloud computing providers seem to consider innovation and creativity as high-risk concepts. Instead, they focus on replicating products and services that already work in the market.

Or they opt for the "private cloudwashing" approach, taking whatever they already sell as software and redoing the marketing collateral to spin it as a private cloud. Enterprise IT has to become a private detective to understand what's actually new and cloudlike versus what's old and relabeled.

My advice to enterprise IT is to not reward vendors that take the lazy way to cloud computing. Begin calling out vendors that simply replicate other people's technology or stamp the "private cloud" tag on their existing wares. Force providers looking to offer a cloud technology or services to focus on what has yet to be done versus what's already done. As the buyer, enterprise IT is in a position to demand real value.

This article, "Cloud computing's sad state: Innovation is in scarce supply," 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.