So what’s a cloud….
Cloud Computing Circa 1998Networks have historically been depicted as clouds. Why? I always wondered that. Most likely because it was an easy way to depict something ubiquitous (clouds are pretty much everywhere), something nebulous (because its form and shape changes as nodes are added and/or removed), and something powerful (clouds can become storms).So when the term ‘Cloud Computing’ starts its journey skyward on the Space Shuttle named ‘Hype’ is what we are really talking about ‘Network Computing’??? It could probably have been called that except the editorial staff at the publication by the same name would have had a few issues so to speak.Cloud Computing = Network ComputingI think that we are a point in time where the economics and dynamics of this space are in need of a major overhaul. To effect that overhaul we need to take the economics of a network, i.e. super-linearity of value based on number of nodes connected and apply it to not just the connectivity, but to the end-to-end processing of workload, storing the results of that processing, and communicating it to other processing nodes and end users.We are past the point where individual point solutions will suffice and charging headlong into a world where the lines get blurred. One where we don’t brag about how many servers we have, but instead about how efficiently we manage them, where storage virtualization is de rigeur, not the exception, and as always the network continues to connect everything. In this world of applications becoming more network-centric and network dependent than ever we shouldn’t take the abject usability of the network for granted. As my good friend Peter Linkin relayed to me today, there is a lot of engineering that goes into protocols, hardware, and software for networking and just because it works well, efficiently, and the better it works the less you care about it doesn’t mean it is not critical.I love the idea of cloud computing, the next evolution of the most network intensive architecture possible, but one that if it works well, is transparent. It’s all about the transparency.To quote the Rolling Stones, and the inimitable Mick Jagger, “Hey, Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud…” :)dg