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The Cloud is Nothing New

May 15, 2012

Cloud computing doesn’t seem to have any great definition. Like the physical structures is is named for, it is amorphous, with no defined boundaries, and often, without a recognizable shape. There are even a whole host of different acronyms (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), which attempt to provide some differentiation between the services being offered by “cloud vendors”.

However much of what the cloud does is act like an IT department for hire. They provide us with Virtual Machines we can configure as we like. They provide software services, much like Twitter, or even Google, provide for us. They may provide us a way to deploy some software we write, but ultimately this is nothing magic or new.

Most of what the “cloud” gives us is a new marketing term that has caught on. From the Microsoft “to the cloud” commercials to the buzz about Amazon’s various AWS services.

It’s hard to even compare the various services from different companies because we don’t really have a common framework of discussion. The “as”s give us a starting point, but when using the generic “cloud” term, it quickly becomes confusing.

To date, I haven’t seen much innovation in the cloud. The way the services are priced, packaged, and made available is different than in the past, but the technology is the same. And in many cases, the deployment of much of this technology on virtual machines makes me think of the mainframe days when we carved up the hardware on one large, monolithic machine into various compartments where different applications could be run, or different programs could be deployed.

The cloud isn’t a lot different, technically, but the way the services are offered to us is new, and the speed at which they can be built, used, and thrown away, is truly stunning.

The cloud is nothing new, but it can change the way in which make decisions about our investments, and it can change the timing of the IT investments that we choose to make.

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4 Comments
  1. What? No recognizable shape???!?
    Did you know that Apple’s iCloud logo is infused with the Golden Ratio?

    http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ThereIsOnlyOneCloudIconInTheEntireUniverse.aspx

    Just kidding :-)

    Nice post, Steve.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. LOL, I wouldn’t be surprised if some designer did it. Or if they start to as some marketing “proof” that the cloud works.

  3. It’s the same hype as with blogs when they first appeared. Blogs are just another CMS publishing system period, and it looks like the “cloud” has similar hype around it…

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