A recent sys-con article on Cloud Computing purports to present Twenty-One experts defining Cloud Computing. After reading it I was impressed by the list of experts but fought long and hard to find any actual definitions in the piece. To me, one of the biggest problems we have in IT is the vagueness and lack of precision in all of our work around these complex topics. And this article serves to cement my concern as even the experts use less than precise descriptions to get across their points.
No, in the interest of full disclosure, I was a bit taken aback that Gartner was not listed as one of the experts, given we have one of the most widely quoted definitions of Cloud computing (in fact, it is referenced in one of the expert’s Definitions but taken out of context) in the industry. In fact, I was a primary author so my view point is biased. But, I am trying to put that aside to get to the real issue that we face. That is – how can we expect IT people to be able to strategize and decide on IT direction and tactics if we can’t even describe for them what the real issues are in any consistent way. For that, we need a commonly accepted definition, even if it is not great.
The Gartner definition (modified slightly from our original) “A style of Computing where scalable and elastic IT capabilities are provided as a service to multiple customers using Internet technologies” can be teased apart to get at most of the key issues in Cloud Computing. But if people differ from that definition, I would love to see more definitions that can be teased apart from a consistent foundation as a good place to start.
Certainly, there are many ways to look at cloud computing but the benefits need to be qualified in order to be quantified. Let’s at least ask the experts to start their definitions with actual definitions.