Is 'cloud computing' hurting cloud computing?

The concept of cloud computing is more than just 'over the Internet,' so using that phrase isn't right, either's Lee Gomes had a very interesting post entitled "Abolish 'cloud computing'!" that raises some interesting questions around the "cloud computing" buzzword: "Doesn't the expression 'in the cloud' sound so much prettier, so much more ethereal than 'over the Internet,' even though they are essentially the same thing? Yes it does, which is precisely why we should stop the cloud-talk right away. "

Gomes makes some good points. Those who've read my cloud computing book know that I'm not enamored with the "cloud computing" buzzword, but it clearly caught on as the way to describe the space -- that is, after the not so successful buzzwords that preceded it, such as Web-oriented architecture (WOA), anything "on demand," anything "as a service," and a blast from the past: application service providers (ASPs). So you go with what seems to stick -- in this case, "cloud computing."

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But Gomes may be oversimplifying the concept of cloud computing in his objections to the term. Indeed, "cloud computing" or "in the cloud" may mean "over the Internet," indicating the use of public clouds. But it also signifies an approach to architecture that includes public, private, community, and hybrid clouds. Some deliver services over the Internet, and some do not.

That said, the core issues with the term "cloud computing" are that it has so many meanings and that it is so widely applied. Thus, it has a tendency to lose its meaning because so many things are described as "in the cloud" these days. Perhaps it's time to begin figuring out ways to identify particular components or patterns of cloud computing, thus making the concept a bit more meaningful. However, judging by the past behavior of our IT industry, I suspect we will have moved on to something else by the time that happens.

This article, "Is 'cloud computing' hurting cloud computing?," originally appeared at Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at


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