The afternoon keynotes at Interop saw IBM, HP and SAP giving their visions of cloud computing. While the companies had a number of real deliverables to talk about, the keynotes also showed that vendors continue to confound and confuse with their various conflicting definitions.One Tweet from an Interop attendee should serve as a proof point: "After two full days, you would think I could define the 'cloud.' Not." And this after an Enterprise Cloud Summit and any number of sessions that touch on "cloud computing."
SAP, HP and IBM aren't traditionally thought of as cloud vendors in the same vein as Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com or even Microsoft. In the eyes of many, SAP is a stodgy on premises vendor, and HP and IBM sell hardware and managed services rather than cloud computing.
Their definitions didn't make things much more clear. IBM, for example, gave a hazy guidance about $66 billion in possible cloud computing revenue opportunity. SAP called iTunes an online banking examples of cloud computing. It's almost like "Web 2.0" redux.
While the market, including InformationWeek in some places, is having trouble defining cloud computing, there are some folks with good working definitions. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, for example, recently released a draft definition of cloud computing that the government is already using for requests for information. Others, including the University of California at Berkeley, also have workable definitions.
It's evidence that while we're in the early days, there really is such a thing as cloud computing, and it's not just Internet-based computing, whatever some vendors might have you believe.