Top 10 Cloud Computing Definitions

In many ways, words are metaphors pointing to the objects they represent. The word “tree” is not a tree; it is simply a placeholder for the real thing. Our understanding of the world is built upon a deeper set of presuppositions. Meaning demands meaning. Reason demands reason: 1+1=2 only when humans agree upon the meaning of these symbols. The same is true for words. Words are our framework of meaning. Every one is a metaphor reaching to something beyond its simple spelling and articulation.

Words have incredible power. They create love; hate and confusion. They define us and the world in which we live. They shape our reality as well as our perceptions. Our words determine our ideologies and beliefs.

As I was reviewing 2011 in my mind, I began to wonder which words helped drive the discussion around cloud services this year – and if those words were helpful; or just added to the general existential crisis going on in the industry as cloud providers and managed service providers (MSPs) struggle to define themselves and their services in what is still a very murky market.

After taking a brief trip over to….I found the following definitions as the top 10 cloud computing definitions for 2011.  In deference to David Letterman and Johnny Carson, the undisputed masters of the Top 10 List, we will start from number 10:

10. What is cloud portability? Good question, especially considering the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has zeroed in on it being a key area for improvement among cloud providers. Making it easier for customers to pick up their apps and change providers might sound counterintuitive, but it’s a feature that will make you more attractive. You know, like competing on Dancing with the Stars or taking that guest appearance on Jersey Shore.

9. What is SlapOS? SlapOS is what you want to do to your forehead every time you get an email from that coworker (you know the one) who intentionally leaves the “Sent from my iPad” or “Sent from my Blackberry” signature on his or her emails. Oh, wait — you meant that SlapOS. Yes…the one that doesn’t involve bodily harm or potential assault charges.

8. What is GB billing? When mere mortals consume cloud services, they require gigabyte (GB) billing to pay for what they’ve used. When the Kardashian clan consumes cloud services, the cloud pays them.  That is the genesis of their talent, Barbara Walters.

7. What is the cloud ecosystem? As in biological ecosystems, organisms in a cloud ecosystem eat the contractor below them on the food chain. But cloud ecosystems, unfortunately, don’t make such an interesting cardboard box diorama for your high school student.  At least that is what my son told me.

6. What is Jamcracker? It’s more than the pathetic little snack you make yourself when you have exceeded your three drink maximum of Jim Beam and Diet Coke (this typically occurs when you watch Ole Miss or Clemson play football).  Jamcracker is also an effective multi-tenant cloud management platform.

5. What is a telecom cloud provider? This very curious breed of cloud provider is known for its conservative demeanor, stratified silos, compulsive trench digging and insane addiction to obscure acronyms. Despite these traits, they often become great family pets.

4. What is cloud federation? Cloud federation has one thing going for it. It’s only slightly less geeky than Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets. But given the glacial pace of activity here, it may become cool when my children have children.

3. What is a cloud provider? This is the first question that I ask myself each and every morning when I look at myself in the mirror. And I always answer my reflection saying, “I am, you handsome devil.”

2. What is a cloud broker (cloud agent)? Cloud brokers have the good fortune of not being associated with Wall Street brokers, who aren’t winning any popularity contests for their role in the worldwide economic meltdown.  But our cloud broker friends should remember that line from the movie Gladiator – “He was a soldier of Rome – Honor him”.

1.  What are cloud services? Do you have six days to kill?   It takes a minimum of a week for sane individuals to scour the Internet and analysts sites and to read literally hundreds of whitepapers before their heads explode.  I can honestly say that you can drive yourself to insanity in an attempt to find a consistent answer to this question. Don’t try this at home.

Words are the foundation upon which we build our lives. This holds true even for wonderful words like Love, Light, Justice, Honor, Truth, Joy, Peace, Redemption, Happiness, or Beauty. These are beautiful words, yet they are words we know only in part.  Shakespeare wrote “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose….By any other name would smell as sweet.”  Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2). Unfortunately, words surrounding cloud services don’t smell as sweet by any other name.  Those “other names” tend to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the marketplace.  Words do matter…and it is the challenge that consultants accept each and every day as they deal with the customer uncertainty, misconception and doubt surrounding cloud services.

I hope that everyone enjoys a blessed 2012.

What do you think?  Do you have any other terms, related to the Cloud, which should be included?  What do you see ahead for 2012 as emerging trends?  We look forward to your comments.
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