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 Force.com, 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.