CNN Copies GoGrid’s “Cloud Computing Explained” Video?

November 5th, 2009 by - 10,527 views

I came across an interesting article in the CNN Tech section of CNN titled “A trip into the secret, online ‘cloud’” written by John Sutter. The article itself, takes a unique approach as the author “searches” for his data in the “cloud.” As Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOm points out, the goal of the article is to “explain cloud computing to the masses” however, she continues by saying that the premise behind the CNN article is not quite on target. The example that is given in the article is that of uploading a picture to an image sharing site like Flickr or Picasa, and that once you do that, you just “started using Cloud Computing.”

The problem that I have been having with mainstream media is that now putting stuff “into the cloud” seems to be synonymous with “using Cloud Computing.” It is not. Simply uploading data or files to a service that stores it is just that, storing data on someone’s server. Cloud Computing is much more, especially when you factor in the different types of Cloud Computing layers (Infrastructure – like GoGrid or AWS, Platform – like Google App Engine or, or Software – like SalesForce). Some would say, myself included, that Gmail is a type of Cloud Application, however I’m starting to view SaaS or Cloud Applications almost in a class of their own since the boundaries or somewhat blurred and the characteristics of Cloud Computing (on-demand, scalable, utility billing, elastic, self-service and even virtualized) might not be fully present with the SaaS space. That is a different topic entirely.

While the author, John Sutter, of the CNN article brings up some good points, he is obviously frustrated by the lack of visibility within the cloud and of the vendors that provide Cloud Services of one sort or another. I personally extend an open invitation to John to visit the GoGrid offices where he can fully explore our offering (yes, we too will have to put some things under NDA or “off the record” but we are always fairly forthcoming on our direction and thought-leadership in the Cloud Computing space).

Back to the title of this article. John’s story on the CNN site opens with the following video called “Cloud Computing Explained” and discusses, in a friendly format, how his picture travels into the Cloud. Its a somewhat good attempt at explaining how “the cloud” works, but misses much of the true benefits and features of Cloud Computing. Watch it below and read on.

Over a year ago, I conceived and scripted a video ALSO called “Cloud Computing Explained.” It was produced in-house with our web development team and simply uploaded to YouTube without any real hype. As of this writing, it has over 100,000 views, a 5-star rating (almost 300 ratings) and over 150 (mainly positive) comments about it. Of course, we took the approach of explaining the Cloud Infrastructure layer, because that is what GoGrid provides, Cloud Infrastructure Hosting as a Service.

So, now that you have both videos side-by-side, take a look at their similarities and differences.

What do you think? Concept copy? Style copy? (Obviously we want to give a big hat tip to the Common Craft folks who produce stellar video explanations.) But come on, CNN, I would hope that you would be a bit more original AND dive a bit deeper into the true meaning of Cloud Computing.

I would love your feedback!

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

3 Responses to “CNN Copies GoGrid’s “Cloud Computing Explained” Video?”

  1. Wil Sinclair says:

    I don't see much similarity beyond style. For example, I could see CNN producing their video in complete ignorance of yours. The audiences are different as well- yours is developers, theirs is end users- which results in very different content.

    That said, your video has substance, while CNN's seems to have focused entirely on style. Frank the Dog? At least it makes for a good tag for these super dumbed down explanations:

    The cloud is like a big computer in the sky. #frankthedog

    Are you going to produce any more of these videos? Maybe one specifically on GoGrid?


  2. Yeah, style is one (funny how the opening shot is similar – clouds and laptop). When we conceived this video, we really wanted it to appeal to all users. I agree the content is different (and theirs supports their article). I just found it almost amusing that the titles and a few other things were somewhat similar.

    I may, time permitting, do some more videos like this.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. ian says:

    The marketing folks have lost control of the term cloud computing. It meant something really exciting a few years ago (on demand computing resources provisioned with an API and no contract) and enabled us to solve all kinds of capacity/variable workload type problems very cost effectively.

    Now cloud computing is synonymous with "internet" and "hosting" due to the word cloud being taken to mean anything not sitting physically right in front of the user.

    Marketing folks – I'm really hoping you can clean up this mess. Until then the customers and public are more confused than ever.

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