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Cloud/Cloud Computing Definitions – Why they Do(n’t) Matter…

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece titled Cloud: The Other White Meat…On Service Failures & Hysterics in which I summarized why Cloud/Cloud Computing (or what I now refer to as Cloudputing 😉 has become such a definitional Super-Fund clean up site:

To me, cloud is the “other white meat” to the Internet’s array of widely-available chicken parts.  Both are tasty and if I order parmigiana made with either, they may even look or taste the same.  If someone orders it in a restaurant, all they say they care about is how it tastes and how much they paid for it.  They simply trust that it’s prepared properly and hygienically.   The cook, on the other hand, cares about the ingredients that went into making it, its preparation and delivery.  Expectations are critical on both sides of the table.

It’s all a matter of perspective.


It occurs to me that the explanation for this arises from two main perspectives that frame the way in which people discuss cloud computing:

  1. The experiential consumer’s view where anything past or present connected via the Internet to someone/thing where data and services are provided and managed remotely on infrastructure by a third party is cloud, or
  2. The operational provider’s view where the service architecture, infrastructure, automation and delivery models matter and fitting within a taxonomic box for the purpose of service description and delivery is important.

The consumer’s view is emotive and perceptive: “I just put my data in The Cloud” without regard to what powers it or how it’s operated. This is a good thing. Consumers shouldn’t have to care *how* it’s operated. They should ultimately just know it works, as advertised, and that their content is well handled.  Fair enough.

The provider’s view, however, is much more technical, clinical, operationally-focused and defined by architecture and characteristics that consumers don’t care about: infrastructure, provisioning, automation, governance, orchestration, scale, programmatic models, etc…this is the stuff that makes the magical cloud tick but is ultimately abstracted from view.  Fair enough.

However, context switching between “marketing” and “architecture” is folly; it’s an invalid argument, as is speaking from the consumer’s perspective to represent that of a provider and vice-versa.

Here are the graphical representations of those statements from my Cloudifornication presentation:

Cloud-Provider's View

Cloud-Provider's View

Cloud-Consumer's View

Cloud-Consumer's View