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11/9/2009
08:01 AM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Cloud Computing's New Name: Who Will Win $100 Million?

HP, IBM, and Oracle say "cloud computing" is a bad name, so we're asking you to come up with a replacement name. You might (hah!) win $100,000,000.

Last week we noted that both HP CEO Mark Hurd and IBM CEO Sam Palmisano (not to mention Oracle CEO Larry Ellison) have recently said that "cloud computing" is a lousy name. And because CIOs are into solutions, we asked you innovative folks to blow the clouds away by coming up with a new name that captures not just the technological theory behind the platform but also underscores its business relevance.

To ensure the profit motive is driving this enterprise, I offered a prize of $100,000 for the best new cloud-replacement name, with the cash to come out of the pocket of my friend and colleague InformationWeek editor-in-chief Rob Preston.

We've certainly received some good entries and I'll share those in a moment, but I don't think any of them is quite good enough—so we're extending the contest and, to make it even more interesting, I'm raising the prize money Rob will pay from $100,000 to a cool $100 million. (I haven't mentioned that minor change to Rob yet, but he's an open-minded guy and shouldn't have any problem with it detail stuff like that.)

In my recent post called "HP's Hurd, IBM's Palmisano Agree: Cloud Is Lousy Name," Palmisano had called cloud computing "an unfortunate name" while Hurd said an audience of CEOs recently booed him roundly when he used the term in a speech to those CEOs. Hurd said the hacked-off CEOs told him they're looking for something more "business-friendly," while Palmisano offered an alternative description of the cloud thing as a "highly virtualized environment."

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Interesting that Palmisano centers his preferred term around virtualization. Earlier this year IBM CFO Mark Loughridge told financial analysts on a quarterly earnings call that cloud computing was among the company's top four strategic initiatives:

"And third is cloud computing, an emerging model for delivering and consuming IT-enabled services," Loughridge said

So from IBM's top two executives, we have an emerging model featuring a highly virtualized environment for delivering and consuming IT-enabled services. Think there's any chance IBM will bring back one of its earlier campaigns such as "On Demand" or "utility computing?"

But let's take a look at some of the first round of entries—if any of these catches fire and becomes a fan favorite, I'll put it back in the mix for Rob's $100,000,000 prize. As I said last week, don't let the voters in Chicago and Hudson County have all the fun: enter early and enter often!

The Nominees So Far

--Service Delivery Architecture or SDA, with this add-on: the "SDA Marketplace," in which cloud providers (can I still say that?) offer specific services for fees (from John)

--Hosted Infrastructure or Online Infrastructure (from Jay)

--Free-PHOARM AID, from Rob: [PHOARM] : platform-less hardware optimization and resource manipulation // [AID] : architectural infrastructure design (from Rob)

--On-demand computing, or Computing on-demand, or Transparent computing, or Transparent computing on-demand (from John)

--Time-sharing, mainframe, service bureaus, Cybernet, glorified 3270s all over again (from M.R.)

--Cyberinfrastructure (from Dave)

--Crowd Computing (from Michael)

--POD Computing, Globally Optimized Resource Computing, Globally Optimized Computing (from Yancey)

--Hosted Computing or Outsourced Infrastructure (from blog comment)

--Secure Scalable Dynamic Demand Computing (Priscilla, but she says she's kidding!)

--Remote software services, Global software services (from Seth)

--Infinite computing, Sky computing (from Jeff)

And here comes one from the guy who was always in trouble in grade-school:

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