Don't dismiss cloud computing hype; creative fog is what makes cloud work

"Cloud Computing" is raw material users shape to match their own plans for a technology future


In case you were looking for a well-informed, solidly objective take on the hype surrounding cloud computing, I'm going to suggest the first half of an essay I'd normally spend a lot of energy to ignore.

First, though, since it involves Cloud Computing, you have to pick among the three following options regarding hype about cloud computing, which has generated enough coverage in the press to outweigh the number of stories on cloud computing alone.

A. The hype surrounding cloud computing is undeniably intense, but only because it accurately reflects the incredible potential of the new technology.

B. The "hype" is simply the unavoidable enthusiasm of service providers who are now able to offer unprecedented levels of value and functionality to customers at prices neither thought possible.

C. A combination of financial, business-process-consulting and technological buzzwords and incompatible concepts piled so thick, held together with so many exclamation points they reveal "vision" as clearly as white smoke in a fog bank.

If you picked C, but hesitated because A and B aren't completely wrong even though they look as if they directly contradict C, congratulations. You either work in IT or have been around it long enough to understand that even the most intense BS often has more than the minimum required amount of truth.

The answer to the question of how much about "cloud" is real and how much is just smoke is not clear and never will be.

That's why I've started referring to the hype and technology collectively as "the fog," to make sure I'm including both hype and technology and discussion about the hype and the technology about a topic that is so meta by nature it's hard to talk about it at all.

You have to start by talking about what people say about cloud computing and never get too far away from that. Without the conceptual piece, cloud would never have grown into such a phenomenon and would never have generated so much discussion and content about a topic that demands both self-aware irony and earnest optimism to even get started.

"Why cloud computing hype isn't bad for IT after all" is a good case in point.

It's a blog entry, written well, poking fun at other blogs writing about the hype surrounding cloud computing, but it is written by Jay Fry, VP of marketing, Cloud Computing for CA Technologies, the guy in charge of hyping a service from a company more than a little desperate to keep from having its long-held niche in the enterprise computing market filled in by upstart fog machines.

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