In June of 2008 I participated in a conference on The Promise and Reality of Cloud Computing. “There is a clear consensus that there is no real consensus on what cloud computing is,” said the conference organizer in his closing remarks. There was general agreement that something big and profound was going on out there, although we were not totally sure what it was yet.
Along with a number of others, I struggled to define what cloud computing was all about. I finally concluded that the reason we were both excited, but had trouble articulating what we were excited about was because cloud isn’t any one thing. Rather, it’s a new model of computing, only the third such model in the history of the IT industry, centralized and client-server being the two previous ones. There is no single dimension around which to define a computing model, which accounts for the variety of definitions.
Cloud computing has continued to evolve and advance over the ensuing five years, and I think that 2013 will be viewed as the year when cloud truly took off. An article on last April’s Cloud Connect conference pointed out that people are no longer starting their sessions by saying let’s define cloud computing. “This is a clear indication that the industry has moved beyond elementary knowledge-gathering and onto the practicalities associated with cloud implementation and rollout.”