I read an article in ReadWriteWeb today called Weekly Poll: What Are The Top 5 Worst Terms in the World of the Cloud? with a mixture of amusement and annoyance. The article provides an introduction to the poll and the gist is that cloud computing is full of marketing jargon and RWW wants to know what cloud-related terms you like the least. Fair enough, I guess, as far as it goes, but among the terms up for consideration is ‘Cloud Computing’ itself. What would they prefer we call it and would a different name matter?
Marketers Can Get Out of Hand
I personally don’t have a problem with the name, although it does leave some people a bit confused. Marketers tend to go whole hog when they get their hands on a new concept. The Cloud in a Box idea (top of the list of nominees) is a good candidate for a bad term, but 'Cloud Computing' as a term, really?
We have to call it something. The idea of the cloud comes from the architectural picture we draw when we depict networked computing with a picture of a cloud. It’s not really that hard to see where the name came from. If you look at it that way, it’s actually more geeky than marketing, but when a word gets overused, people tend to go after it.
What Should We Call It
If we didn’t call it Cloud Computing, and it's a bit late to change it, what could we call it that would be more palatable to people who find the term offensive? Here are some ideas:
* Utility Computing
* Shared Resource Computing
* Pay as you go Computing
* Service-oriented Computing
A Rose by Any Other Name
The article goes on to quote Newsgator's Brian Kellner, who goes off on a bit of rant about Cloud Computing as a term. Kellner is a well-known and respected technology executive, but I think he gets it wrong here. I don't think it's all that hard to understand that each of the scenarios he outlines all fall under the umbrella of cloud computing.
RWW author Alex Williams calls 'Cloud Computing' "the vaguest, abused, misused term of the year." Of course, I cover this sector, so I get what it is, but if you read about it and study it, the term becomes clear enough and has actual meaning.
In the end, we’ve given it a name and people are beginning to understand what it means conceptually when we use that term. To change it now, would only cause more confusion, so let’s just agree that Cloud Computing will have to do and call it a day.
Would you use a different name for Cloud Computing? What would you call it?
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