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The Future of Cloud Computing: Let's Not Fret About Definitions

I don’t care what the definition of "cloud computing" is...

Michael Mucha's Blog

Reading Sam Johnston’s piece on the future of cloud computing, I came to a resolution: I don’t care what the definition of “cloud computing” is. First, we’re operating under an aspect of “you don’t predict the future, you build it.” Better to wait 5 years and ask what the definitions then, rather than spend the next 5 years fretting about it. Second, definitions from the blogosphere and marketingland don’t solve enterprise and startup and consumer use cases.

Taking a security example, saying “AWS is secure” or “AWS is not secure” or “AWS is HIPAA-compliant” is meaningless until it’s tied to a very specific problem/solution set. Secure against what, particularly?

The idea is that companies will have services which correspond neatly to the definitions, at which point your choices are simple and you happily start generating purchase orders, or reach for your credit card, as the case may be. But how will you tell from such a surface view which companies will actually meet your needs from the 85 others who will ultimately plaster their marketspeak with the appearence that they do the same thing as the companies that really can meet your needs?

The devil is in the details. Or the use cases, as it were.

In theory, the definition-forging process will help guide the way in the actual “building the future” process, but what I’ve seen so far has been far too muddy to be widely useful. It’s useful to give yourself something to talk about over hors d’oeurves at a cloud computing event, but after that…

PS…not an attack on Sam’s post…just got me thinking…although I perhaps didn’t like his use of monkey analogy…

 

More Stories By Michael Mucha

Michael Mucha is a 12 year veteran in enterprise security, and the CISO of Stanford Hospital, a globally-recognized, $1.6 billion revenue medical center on the campus of Stanford University. Prior to joining Stanford, he was a senior developer for the Managed Security Services division of Exodus Communications, where he wrote security-as-a-service and lights-out management software serving over 1000 managed security customers in 46 datacenters worldwide. Mucha has a BS in Computer Science and a Juris Doctorate. He lives in San Carlos, California.

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