Sunday, January 24, 2016

Time to stop using the word cloud

For what feels like too long now, the phrase “cloud computing” has perpetuated and I'm struck with how the terminology of clouds is muddling, misleading and often mistaken.

Picture a cloud and we think about how transient and wispy it is, which are not concepts we want to associate with data storage or technology. We know that computer and data security are increasingly of concern to business, particularly those who deal with many customer details or with proprietary information, so the cloud phrase is not one I find helpful.

It is clear that those involved in providing what have become known as cloud computing services, Google and Salesforce to name two, know that no amount of marketing spend would compensate for a scandal around loss of secure data so they invest significantly on a scale we would not be able to achieve independently. But the term cloud does little to promote this!

Another misleading impression from the term cloud is that it doesn’t cost anything as it just exists. Whilst the setup and ongoing costs are significantly reduced by using the economy of scale available from a cloud supplier there still remains a cost in terms of administration and overhead that need to be taken into account if organisations are to make the most of their use of cloud services.

The phrase itself has come to be so misleading or empty (like a cloud itself) that I expect it, like the expression “information superhighway” in the 90s, will quickly be lost into the mists of time, to be replaced by something more substantial.

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