November 18, 2010, 4:59 PM — Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff warned attendees at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco yesterday to beware of "false clouds" -- the kind end-user companies could build themselves on top of their own data centers rather than buying from an external service provider like, say, Amazon or Salesforce.
I had some important not-being-there to do, so I missed the session, but I imagine VMware CEO Paul Maritz -- who was sitting on the same panel to talk about the development of cloud -- didn't like that much.
"It's important to use the word cloud to describe not just where the computing takes place but how computing is done," Martiz said, according to a note-taker in the crowd who was sharp enough to realize the difference.
,a href="http://www.vmware.com/solutions/cloud-computing/" target="_blank">VMware thinks cloud is something you build on top of virtualized servers to abstract them even further than spending their whole lives trapped in a small box in a VM farm does to the poor things. Cloud lets you reassign compute power, memory, I/O or other resources wherever in the data center(s) you need them to do load-balancing and performance-management on a colossal scale.
Rather than just making sure one server with one app runs as well as it can, you tune the whole data center and, when you run out of juice there, you throw open a link to an external cloud and start using its power, too. It's like being connected to a power grid or -- having seen the result that often comes out of those elegant and sophisticated computing structures -- a sewage system that flows both ways, but does it really well.
"Cloud computing is a sacred thing," said Benioff, who was obviously trying way too hard and probably went home alone at the end of the night after his obvious desperation turned off every potential customer at the party.