>For way too long now, the buzzword supreme in the IT world has been “cloud”. Building clouds inside, using clouds outside, leveraging clouds, making clouds cost-efficient, having pretty clouds, your music in the cloud, clouds that look like former presidents, we are the cloud. we are the walrus. All cloud. All the time.

Amazingly, only a precious few people that I’ve run across can truly define what a cloud actually IS with regards to Information Technology. Not amazingly, none of those people have been the people currently shoveling the cloud manure du jour into every nook and cranny of the interweb.

Soren Hansen (http://blog.warma.dk/), gave a talk back in February (I’m not 100% sure where, but at some conference and on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV8M_v1rf0s), that one of my favorite co-workers (@cowmix) really enjoyed and asked me to listen to over the weekend. Other than Soren needing to get some hydration issues addressed, it was a really good talk about the inner workings of OpenStack (http://www.openstack.org/). For the record I’m really excited about the vast majority of where OpenStack is going. I’m excited enough to set aside a lot of the disappointment and frustration I had when I was dealing with Rackspace (http://www.rackspace.com/) at a previous gig and look at this piece of technology without bias and even consider adopting it for my company’s infrastructure.

In this talk he defines a cloud, any cloud, quite clearly and perfectly as:

“an IaaS service with an API”.

Waiting for fireworks? Sorry. As it turns out it’s just like all other novel technologies; not exactly new, but a spin on an established technology that hadn’t been thought of before. Now don’t get me wrong. The push to distributed storage and computing is an amazing one that will eventually revolutionize not only our businesses but our lives in ways we can’t even think of yet. This excites me and I can’t wait for it to happen.

The source of my sarcasm is the marketing engine that is making the cloud sound like we just discovered a whole new layer of the internet, and it’s about to solve all of the problems of mankind in some magical soup of unlimited music storage, perfect data connections and Charlie Sheen video rants. It’s almost as if nobody ever learned anything from the first dot-com bubble, so here we are blowing up another one. Sticking a cloud logo on a bad idea doesn’t make it a good idea, just like making something a website in 2000 didn’t make it good, and putting something on a CD-ROM in 1995 didn’t make it good.

The cloud concept has incredible potential, and it’s going to be a game-changer. Look at the internet AFTER the bubble burst. Now it’s everywhere. I’m pretty sure my refrigerator just emailed somebody to tell me I was running low on mustard. But the same bad ideas that popped that first bubble are creeping in again. If you don’t believe me just google “making money in the cloud”.

*Note — this has been cross-posted to http://rvalug.org*