News

THE LANGUAGE OF CLOUDS

4/05/2010 2:46 AM Eastern

CLOUDS, CLOUDS, EVERYWHERE THE CLOUDS. LAST MONTH
(March 15 to 18), the “Cloud Connect” conference, in
Santa Clara, Calif., with 32 vendors and intense discussion;
everywhere else you look, nearly daily mention
of “cloud computing,” “cloudonomics,” even “leveraged
cloudbursting.”

And that’s just the creative, cumulus prose one can
gather about something as writer-friendly as a cloud.

Why should you care? Because clouds are big business,
and if you work in an industry of networks —
backbone, metro, hybrid fiber coaxial, access, you name
it — you’re in the cloud already. The opportunities lurk
in the assortment of linkages that could happen, which
have nothing to do with asking consumers for more
money.

“Cloud” is enterprise computing, over giant networks.
“Managed hosting” is a close cousin. This week’s translation
is a roundup of cloud lingo and current events
— because there’s a lot going on in the cloud.

Know going in that the tech-talk is dense. Here’s a
sampling: IaaS, SaaS and PaaS. To “virtualize.” Rackspace
v. Amazon. Cloud sprawl, cloud fraud.

Let’s start with the “as a service” bunch. “IaaS”
stands for “Infrastructure as a Service.” The “S” and
the “P” stand for “Service” and “Platform,” respectively.
They’re all about finding ways to make your infrastructure,
services and platforms capable of doing
IT gymnastics that are useful to people standing out
there in the sunshine, wishing for
cloud cover.

“Virtualization” is big in cloud talk. Here’s an example
sentence: “They could’ve shifted their technology approach
to embrace a primarily virtualization-based implementation,
and led the charge into enterprise cloud.”

Amazon.com sells a “Virtual Private Cloud” service,
which also goes by “VPN,” where the “N” is for Network.

Indeed, Amazon sits on the top of the cloud world,
with Rackspace.com as a close second. Both sell ways
for companies to securely outsource their IT functions
onto someone else’s network. Other players: Kontiki,
Heroku, EngineYard, and a quickly growing list of others.

The big thing in clouds this year, according to
the people who watch them (try CloudPundit.com
and JackofallClouds.com, both excellent sources of
context and detail): cloud fraud, and cloud provider
sprawl. “Now, you can more or less count the big
ones,” said the jack of all clouds (Guy Rosen), in a
recent Webcast. “This year, everyone’s going to be a
cloud.”

March