I ask not because I doubt what most people refer to as cloud – XaaS where X is anything from infrastructure, platform, software or who-knows-what – certainly that exists and is growing rapidly.  I’m delighted to see the recent research – highlighted by John Dodge in this blog just a couple of days ago – pointing to “broad and rampant” cloud use in enterprises.

So, clearly cloud computing as it has been called up to know does exist.  What I’m really trying to ask here is this:  Does any other kind of enterprise computing exist anymore, and if it does how long will that last?

In the 40+ years since I wrote my first lines of COBOL and RPG I’ve seen enterprise computing redefined several times, from mainframe to distributed to client server and now back through server virtualization to what resembles the mainframes of my early career.  You could say the earliest implementations were cloud computing with highly virtualized mainframes running every enterprise application in a single box, with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as the only client computing there was.  Dumb terminals just captured keystrokes and displayed characters in a neat 25×80 display with no graphics and blazing speeds of 4800 bps between mainframe and remote user.

So here we are four decades removed, and what we just called “computing” then is quickly becoming the latest best thing in the datacenter (which is being re-branded as the private cloud) and at the service providers offering everything-as-a-service (who have already been re-branded as the public cloud).

Whatever definition of The Cloud you use – and Jamal Khawaja’s blog post had some great ones – a few things that define cloud for me are simplified provisioning, self-service deployment of some kind and Multitenancy whether intra- or inter-company.  I don’t see any of those going away any time soon, and so what we call cloud computing today is probably the norm for enterprise computing going forward.

So back to the original question – isn’t cloud computing already just “computing”?  What do you think?