Wow, this cloud computing is really going to solve all the It problems. This great magic black box has more power than Virtualization, it’s stronger than any soap/caml/etc. middleware, able to leap thin clients in a single bound, outbattles SAN anything, laughs at client-server computing, scoffs at the mere mention of object-orientation. It’s daBomb.
As with most IT-world-saving concepts, it gains most of its strength from the simple fact that it doesn’t exist; hence it can be the solution to any problem (though it makes the best solution to problems that also do not exist). But it also gets a boost from two other factors. First is the early adoption by two high-profile companies. Though in general cloud computing is not a ‘reality’ at the time of this writing (March 2009), two services, one by Google and one from Amazon fit closely enough to the incredibly vague definition that there mere existence adds significant legitimacy to the rhetoric. Amazon, who rocketed to profitability in a mere 7 years during the dot-com goldrush of the 90s, though they did manage to survive the dot-com bust and move into the S&P top 100 — even though they currently still maintain a ~$1.5B debt-load. That combined with their history of producing patented earth-shattering, mind-boggling innovations like the 1-click purchase, implies that if they are selling it, it might be gold (or at least gold colored, like many of the other items they sell — did I mention that’s what they do, sell stuff online). Google of course, did create a piece of substantially more complex technology that really did have a profound impact on the day-to-day lives of 100s of millions of people. Since developing their search engine and ad technology they have established an astronomical corporate worth and have spawned litterally hundreds of other projects, one of them being the could-like app engine. And since all of their other ancillary projects have instantly changed the face of computing
Google mail quickly elimated all in-house, propriatary mail systems as well as open free system.
Google apps finally knocked Microsoft Office off the desktop, and easly swept through Lotus, openoffice, iwork, etc.
their ‘cloud’ infrastrucure is bound to be a run-away success. Don’t worry that it’s listed as a ‘beta’. All Google innovations are Beta, as is Earth itself. Google will eventually replace Earth with the production version, and no doubt most, if not all, the issues that current plague this one will be eliminated.
The other thing the ‘Cloud’ has going for it is that another previously vaporous bit of IT magic, Virtualization, actually made an appearance and turned out to be actually useful. Not quite to the extent prophesized by its various attractors, but useful nonetheless. And this relationship is further bolstered by the fact that, like virtualization, Cloud computing as concept is not a new idea. While any specific implementation of a shared computing resource, like the google app engine, may itself contain some amount of innovation or invention, most of the innovation surrounding cloud computing is in the marketing and hype. This results in cloud computing being a sort of double entendre of analogies. Though many engineers might disagree the world runs on hype and marketing, and like the weather it absolutely determines ones life, and yet is wholly uncntrollable, the best one can do to control the weather is to control where you are by moving away from ominous skys.