Everyone seems to be either talking about cloud computing, launching their product “within the cloud” or developing a “cloud” infrastructure. I would like to take a step back and really think about why the word “cloud” is being used in the first place.
First, a quick side note: as I tried to track down the origins of the term “cloud computing” I did come across a very insightful post by Paul Wallis that does a fantastic job stepping through the evolution from “supercomputing” through “the cluster” into “the grid” and eventually up into the “clouds.” The concept of having “data clouds speaking to supercomputer clouds” is becoming a reality, according to Wallis, however, I echo his concern that in order for this magical marriage to take place, there needs to be a new level of Quality of Service connecting the two, among other things.
Even with the foundation being laid by some heavy players, cloud computing is still in its infancy. But this is not the subject of this article. I still circle back to the marketing “genus” that coined the term “cloud” to describe this new computing paradigm. For that, I move away from the technical and more to the linguistic.
The term “cloud” can be used in many forms of speech:
- Noun – The clouds of smoke filled the room
- Verb – The smoke clouded the room
- Adjective – The cloudy smoke filled the room
- Adverb – The smoke cloudily filled the room
So, cloud is a good word choice from a grammatical perspective since it can be used with a variety of ways. But is it a good term to use to describe a product or technology? I’m not so sure. As an exercise, I started writing down words that came to mind when I thought about “cloud”. In no particular order: