Thoughts About The Cloud

There is a lot of buzz about “the cloud,” as there should be. Still, it is amazing to me how the hype, especially IT company advertising, seems to miss the mark. Here is an example, the Microsoft commercial with the couple stuck in the airport.

They are able to use “the cloud” to remote into their home PC to watch a video. I think this commercial sucks for the following reasons:

  • In my opinion, this is not using the cloud. I will explain my definition below.
  • Watching video over a remote connection is like taking a shower with your clothes on. It sort of works, but the experience is awful.
  • Few people use Microsoft technologies to record TV. It would have been more realistic (and more cloud-like) if they downloaded TV using iTunes, or Amazon.
  • If you want me to empathize with this beautiful couple, don’t have them watch “Celebrity probation.” I have my share of guilty pleasures, but still…

Worst of all, this ad obfuscates what the cloud means. I suspect Microsoft’s only goal is to associate their name with the cloud. What the couple is actually doing may be irrelevant to Microsoft marketing types.

Nothing Microsoft does in this commercial helps us better understand “the cloud” and why is it noteworthy.

Everyone has their own definition of the cloud and typically they are written in a way that justifies their interests. To me The Cloud is a means to deliver an application as an IT service, where:

1. the service is hosted on servers and storage that are not on our private network
2. those servers and storage are connected to our private network via the Internet
3. the application is accessed by the user using a standard browser without any plug-ins, active-x controls or java requirements. Just HTML5.

I don’t believe in private clouds, or other variations. That strikes me as market-speak that organizations use to make their products and services seem like they are part of the hype. The cloud is not about watching bad TV with a massive latency and audio synch problems while we are sitting on airport carpet.

The cloud is about buying IT as a service to shift time and focus away from:

  • deploying and managing data centers; and
  • installing and troubleshooting desktop software.

Spending less time on these technical things should allow a business to focus on leveraging IT to drive even greater business value.