Berkeley Talks Cloud: Should We Listen? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
2/18/2009
09:04 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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Berkeley Talks Cloud: Should We Listen?

Far too many people out there in the emerging space of cloud computing are arguing the semantics of this model, and not what's important -- the architectural improvement opportunities and the reasons why businesses should look at cloud computing... What's important to this movement is the use of the model, the benefit to business, and what we need to do to get there.

The Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences department at The University of California at Berkeley has just published "A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing." The report has 11 authors, includes good information and is a clear attempt to solidify the emerging cloud computing market. When you do a report like this, you first need to put forth your definition of cloud computing:

"Cloud Computing refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide those services. The services themselves have long been referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). The datacenter hardware and software is what we will call a Cloud. When a Cloud is made available in a pay-as-you-go manner to the general public, we call it a Public Cloud; the service being sold is Utility Computing. We use the term Private Cloud to refer to internal datacenters of a business or other organization, not made available to the general public. Thus, Cloud Computing is the sum of SaaS and Utility Computing, but does not include Private Clouds."

Of course any new work in the cloud computing area gets quick and detailed analysis, including this report. I've been out on the blogs and on Twitter, and the reviews of this report seemed mixed, or, centered around definitions and approaches. Personally, I thought the report was productive. While others focused on the definitions and models presented, I focused on the business issues around cloud computing, which were well detailed in the report.

Far too many people out there in the emerging space of cloud computing are arguing the semantics of this model, and not what's important -- the architectural improvement opportunities and the reasons why businesses should look at cloud computing. The report does a pretty good job of making the business case, but there is really nothing new or game-changing in the report. We've already heard plenty of debate about the 10 obstacles to cloud computing identified:

1. Availability of Service Use 2. Data Lock-In 3. Data Confidentiality and Auditability 4. Data Transfer Bottlenecks 5. Performance Unpredictability 6. Scalable Storage 7. Bugs in Large Distributed Systems 8. Scaling Quickly 9. Reputation Fate Sharing 10. Software Licensing.

We will be seeing a ton of analysis like this over the coming year as organizations attempt to define cloud computing, typically toward their own benefit. I'm sure we can argue the definitions and models until the end of time as well. However, what's important to this movement is the use of the model, the benefit to business, and what we need to do to get there.

Cloud computing is so widely defined right now that many see it differently, and I think that will hurt the realization of the value from cloud computing. Confusion leads to frustration, which leads to disillusionment, which leads to no change. It's time to start working and stop talking, if you ask me.Far too many people out there in the emerging space of cloud computing are arguing the semantics of this model, and not what's important -- the architectural improvement opportunities and the reasons why businesses should look at cloud computing... What's important to this movement is the use of the model, the benefit to business, and what we need to do to get there.

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