Technology, Applications

Does "the cloud" mean anything anymore?

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Enterprise CIO community manager John Dodge expounds on how overused the term "the cloud" has become. Has "the cloud" been rendered meaningless? 

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Joel Dobbs 339 Points | Wed, 11/09/2011 - 16:17

There is a point, I believe, where some terms in popular use make a transition from descriptive to meaningless.  They pass a “Tipping Point” where the term ceases to be used in a way that describes what it actually is and becomes meaningless  jargon .  While not limited to technology this phenomenon is certainly very prevalent here.  Think back to terms like client-server, web-based and even the web itself for that matter.  These got co-opted as marketing terms and, at least for a time, lost their meaning, or at least the meaning became diluted and confused.  This is most certainly happening with the term “cloud” in its many uses.  Almost every marketing pitch uses the term “cloud” somewhere, frequently inappropriately. Combine that with the fact that all technology requires time to mature and transition into the mainstream and one gets a classic case of overexposure and subsequent disappointment and disillusionment. Thus, we tune it out and as Christian Verstraete reported recently, a recent UK survey of IT managers found that they see the cloud as irrelevant.  

The basic concepts and technologies that underlie cloud computing will become mainstream and will likely ultimately change the face of IT, but this will occur because of benefits delivered to those who use its capabilities well, not because everyone is talking about it.

John Dodge 1535 Points | Wed, 11/09/2011 - 16:51

I thought Christian Verstraete expressed the impact of the cloud's increasingly vague meaning in this video.


Paul Muller 119 Points | Wed, 11/02/2011 - 20:23

My view - in 10 years time most (non-engineering) folks will be talking about "cloud" in the same way we talk about integrated circuits, twisted pair and TCP/IP today - which is to say, not a lot.

John Dodge 1535 Points | Thu, 11/03/2011 - 18:23

Nice analogy. I take a more accelerated view - that will happen in 5-7 years, not 10. 

Paul Muller 119 Points | Tue, 11/08/2011 - 06:29

I think you're spot-on, 5 years is more likely. The real story is not cloud, but the technologies that underpin cloud(s), it's here that I believe we're going to witness a vendor and standards war that will make NetWare vs Windows, 68K vs x86 vs RISC and SNA vs Ethernet battles seem like minor scuffles.

John Dodge 1535 Points | Tue, 11/08/2011 - 14:33

BTW, I was glad to see Meg Whitman's decision that HP would stay in the PC business and stick w tablets (how can you be in the PC business w/o tablets, smart phones and tons of research into yet-to-invented devices etc). 

In a cloud world, end user devices are incredibly important and HP has such a strong franchise there already. Devices are what users see...the cloud not so much....