Photo Credit: cote
Have you heard? Michael Dell has been refused by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cash in on the buzzword, “cloud computing”.
Not exactly breaking news, I know, but Dell to sell its factories worldwide is (more on that later). I was rooting for Dell to win, actually. And it’s not because I own a Dell. It has got more to do with me wanting the titans of business to cash in on insignificant catchphrases like “cloud computing,” that are as Ted Dziuba puts it — catchphrases in puberty. Meaning, Dell could trademark the phrase “cloud computing” all they want, but it’ll be worth squat once the digerati drops the grok bomb and adopts something more apt to define hyperscale.
I could be wrong about Dell’s intentions though, but it’s just the way memes and phrases evolve online. It was Web 2.0 before, and today it’s social media. It never fails to boggle my mind, as to why companies like Dell flex their financial muscle on irrelevant memes and phrases which won’t stand the test of time because metaphors like “cloud computing” are just too vague to mean anything.
However, this isn’t why I’m writing to you. What I really wanted to draw your attention to was towards Dell’s relentless pursuit to trademark “cloud computing” in the first place.
Remember the Gartner Hype Cycle of 2008, and how cloud computing is expected to receive mainstream adoption within 2–5 years?
Now, top that off with Merrill Lynch’s estimation of “cloud computing” to be a $100 billion dollar market and Dell’s pursuit to trademark this umbrella term might begin to make some cents sense. Marcus Klem writes:
Merrill Lynch recently issued a research note: “The Cloud Wars: $100+ billion at stake” (07 May 2008). The analysts write that by 2011 the volume of cloud computing market opportunity would amount to $160bn, including $95bn in business and productivity apps (email, office, CRM, etc.) and $65bn in online advertising.1
Not content for settling with idle dissipation, I did consider penning an exhaustive andante all about cloud computing, but thought better of it when I happened to unearth a goldmine of opinions by thought leaders on this subject.
Below, is the accumulation of such thoughts, displayed in all its glory and glitter. I must warn you though — that by the time you’re through reading them, you’ll probably know more about cloud computing than Al Gore. Proceed at your own discretion:
What Is Cloud Computing?
- Can We Please Define Cloud Computing? -Mashable
- Cloud Computing, The Future Takes Nebulous Shape — HotHardWare
- Cloud Computing Explained — Future Tense
- Cloud Computing Terminology — Web2.0 Journal
- Cloud Computing Expo: Introducing the Cloud Pyramid — Web2.0 Journal
Is There A Difference Between Cloud Computing and SaaS? — THINK IT Services
Don’t confuse SaaS with Cloud Computing — RedMonk
- Bursting the Cloud Bubble: 5 Reasons It’s Not Just Hype — GIGAOM
- Cloud Computing Expo — Elastic Computing vs. Cloud Computing: What’s the Difference and When Do You Use Them? - Web2.0 Journal
How do you qualify something as “Cloud Computing”? -TECHNOLOGY = TECH’nical’ + ‘a’NOLOGY
The History Of Cloud Computing
- A Brief History of Cloud Computing: Is the Cloud There Yet? — Web2.0 Journal
The Benefits Of Cloud Computing
- Cloud Computing’s Impact on Digital Marketing — Trends to Watch — Micro Persuasion
- Cloud Computing: The Evolution of Software-as-a-Service — Knowledge W.P. Carey
Your Cloud Consumer: ISV or Enterprise? — RedMonk
Enterprise 2.0: How Cloud Computing is Shaping Enterprise Technology — Column 2 by Sandy Kemsly
- Cloud Computing Casts Shadow on Walled Gardens — Web2.0 Journal
- How Cloud Computing Is Changing the World — BusinessWeek
- The 10 Laws of Cloudonomics — GIGAOM
Problems With Cloud Computing
- The Dangers of Cloud Computing: VirtSec on Steroids — Seeking Alpha
- Customer Support Becomes Key Concern in Cloud Computing — THINK IT Services
- How Much Faith Should We Put in Cloud Computing? — Web2.0 Journal
Companies Pimping the Clouds
Commercializing the Cloud — The New York Times
- Cloud Computing: Small Companies Take Flight — BusinessWeek
- Those Clouds Are Getting Pretty Thick — WinExtra
- Cloud Computing: The SmugMug Approach to Using Amazon’s EC2 and S3 — Web2.0 Journal
- Tech giants put their heads in the clouds — cnet news
- Cloud Computing — Morgan Stanley is Banking on the Cloud — Web2.0 Journal
Preparing For Life In the Clouds
- Is Cloud Computing Right For You? — Web2.0 Journal
- How To: Live The Cloud Life — Paul Stamatiou
- Build Yourself A Virtual Cloud To Fall Back On — makeuseof.com
- Cloud Virtualization — CIO
Where The Clouds Are Headed
- Is Cloud Computing Ready for Prime Time? — Seeking Alpha
- The Promise and Reality of Cloud Computing -Irving Wladawsky-Berger
- Cloud computing on the horizon — cnet news
Like It Or Not, The Clouds Aren’t Going To Blow Away
Lets face facts. Many aren’t going to embrace “cloud computing” with open arms due to the “here be dragons” vibe from it. Take Ralph Roe for example. He cited 5 reasons for not liking cloud computing:
First, I worked in hi-tech for my entire career, and companies who were my vendors and customers, as well as the ones I was working for, went out of business or merged all the time. It is a very unstable business. Trust them? HA! For that reason alone, I would never even consider trusting my apps and data to an online firm. EVER.
I have had vendor companies where the IRS puts a padlock on the door without any warning to customers, and you cannot even get in to retrieve your property (e.g. fixtures).
Second, they would keep “upgrading” the apps even when I had data that relied on a prior version. I refuse to cede control on changes. I have some great apps that are outdated and simple to operate and I am through the learning curve.
Third, all too frequently, ISP’s are not available. Lightning, fiber cables hit by ditch diggers, or servers go down, etc. With an app on my desktop, I can keep productive. A few minutes ago, my cellphone could not place a call because “all circuits are busy”, good thing I am not using a laptop with wi-fi.
Fourth, it is in the papers all the time that some neglectful creep employee loses their laptop with social security numbers, credit card numbers, and how about passwords and accounts with online app providers? I take a lot of care with desktop and network security.
Fifth, it puts me back into my early years (pre-1983) in hi-tech when terminals connected to the mainframe were the only source of information and the IT guys acted as gatekeepers who sucked up to top management whims, and left the rest of us without timely data we needed to do our jobs. (Shudder).2
Ralph isn’t alone in his fears. There are many more like him who share similar concerns and repine the inevitable. Yes, the transition to cloud computing is inevitable and businesses have to play their part in allaying such fears if the transition is to bear fruit.
The biggest indication yet that the transition is closer than we think, is Google’s latest Damasceneesque revelation — its very own Web browser, called Chrome.
Google Chrome, as Nicholas Carr calls it, is the first cloud browser, where displaying pages has given way instead to running applications. And nothing could add further proof to the impending arrival of “cloud computing” than the foray into the impetuous development of netbooks, or nettops (Om Malik coins it the personal cloud computer) by companies such as HP, Lenovo, Fujitsu and LG.
Remember Dell’s shocking decision to sell its factories worldwide? No prizes for guessing then that they know something that we don’t. Cloud computing anyone? Om Malik nailed it when he said,
…IBM has done it by selling off its iconic PC business and relying on services. Hewlett-Packard focused on a mix of hardware and services for corporate customers while drawing in consumers on the PC side. And Apple shook things up with the iPod and now the iPhone. Dell had tried all of these strategies without huge success, but I think with cloud computing it has a chance.3
Dell already has it mapped out. When cloud computing hits the mainstream, desktops are bound to take a hit. Although demand for netbooks are expected to be high, its low-pricing is not expected to generate high-enough profit margins for companies like Dell. Dell knows its bottom dollar will be affected. By getting rid of its manufacturing plants, Dell will now be able to consolidate its resources and strategically tap into a $100 billion dollar market for consistently high profit margins. Same market, different focus.
Alright, I hear you, you’ve heard enough about clouds and computing. Lets just end this with a fun summation of what cloud computing isn’t, by James Governor:
If you peel back the label and its says “Grid” or “OGSA” underneath… its not a cloud.
If you need to send a 40 page requirements document to the vendor then… it is not cloud.
If you can’t buy it on your personal credit card… it is not a cloud
If they are trying to sell you hardware… its not a cloud.
If there is no API… its not a cloud.
If you need to rearchitect your systems for it… Its not a cloud.
If it takes more than ten minutes to provision… its not a cloud.
If you can’t deprovision in less than ten minutes… its not a cloud.
If you know where the machines are… its not a cloud.
If there is a consultant in the room… its not a cloud.
If you need to specify the number of machines you want upfront… its not a cloud.
If it only runs one operating system… its not a cloud.
If you can’t connect to it from your own machine… its not a cloud.
If you need to install software to use it… its not a cloud.
If you own all the hardware… its not a cloud.Footnotes: