I used the “cloud” to search for the “cloud” and found out that the company who defined the “cloud” was the company I used to search the “cloud”. What an amazing thing… this Cloud!

Isn’t the Internet grand! I wondered where the term Cloud Computing originated so I just opened up a browser and did a Google search “Inventing the term Cloud Computing”. I was directed to a site called elstasticvapor.com. In an article by the purveyer of the site, he quotes another blogger who asked the question “who coined the term Cloud Computing” and at least one answer that came back was, ‘Eric Schmidt in a 2006 interview when describing Google’s SaaS model’. When you dig into the press release from Google, http://www.google.com/press/podium/ses2006.html, you’ll find that indeed Eric mentions the term at least twice during an interview back in 2006.

In an excerpt from that interview, Eric describes the services of the future as follows, “What’s interesting [now] is that there is an emergent new model, and you all are here because you are part of that new model. I don’t think people have really understood how big this opportunity really is. It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing – they should be in a “cloud” somewhere. And that if you have the right kind of browser or the right kind of access, it doesn’t matter whether you have a PC or a Mac or a mobile phone or a BlackBerry or what have you – or new devices still to be developed – you can get access to the cloud.” That really sounds pretty straight forward.

Back in 1985 when I was a regional administrator for part of the ARPANET (whoops I just revealed my age), we knew that the Internet was nothing more than a collection of servers and routers which were designed to enable a best effort service with multiple paths of redundancy. And despite what Al Gore says, it was invented by the DoD. What started as a science project became so prolifically used that we (all) started to refer to it as the “Cloud” twenty years ago.

So what is it today that has the world in such a tizzy about the terminology Cloud Computing? Is it because a powerhouse like Eric Schmidt from a powerhouse company like Google used it three years ago in a time when Google was setting the Internet world on fire? Or is it that we’ve somehow convoluted the message in such a way as to distort its meaning… Something so esoteric that only the elite in the industry can comprehend its meaning? But note the brilliance and simplicity of what Eric Schmidt actually said, “if you have the right kind of browser OR the right kind of access, it doesn’t matter [what kind of device you have]…” meaning the methodology doesn’t matter as much as the result. That’s why there are emerging types of methods to accomplish the same task, namely ACCESS to applications that reside somewhere other than the local PC! That is what Information Technology should be focused on today. Not a bunch of hype that has no practical outcome.

Cloud Computing is branching out into many things. That’s why we see terminology like “Internal Cloud” and “Elastic Cloud” and “Cloud Bursting” but all stem from the same basic premise. The core of the Cloud IS the Internet. The result of Cloud Computing is a more universal access to applications. If you want to make money (or save money) by implementing Cloud Computing then you need to figure out how to give access to the users who want it and then determine the method for making it happen. Use the Internet… Yes, but don’t limit the possibilities because of misconceptions. Find a way to deliver applications by loosely coupling the application and the local device.

Map out what you want to have happen and then design an architecture that meets the needs. Don’t get caught in the hype. Use your head and basic networking principals and soon you will find that you are harnessing the power of the Cloud and not being overrun by it.

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