Do We Need a New Cloud Vocabulary?

Do We Need a New Cloud Vocabulary?

Between hosted services, hosted servers, web-based applications, virtualization, and any number of other technologies, it’s hard to know what we’re talking about when we’re talking about “the cloud.” That’s a problem highlighted by managed hosting provider The Planet in a recent blog entry that asks: What’s in a name when it comes to cloud computing?

Take the following hypothetical conference exchange, borrowed verbatim from The Planet’s blog entry:

The Planet: We do hosting.
Attendee: Oh, so do you have a cloud?
The Planet: Absolutely. Our cloud is designed for production with *insert Server Cloud differentiators*
Attendee: What kinds of servers do you have in the cloud?
The Planet: Let’s back up a second … What do you mean when you talk about “the cloud?”
Attendee: You know … I send all the data off and I don’t have to mess with any of the hardware.

I strongly suspect that The Planet isn’t the only cloud vendor that's having this kind of failure to communicate -- when MSPmentor talks to vendors, we often have to get terms like “hybrid cloud” or “private cloud” clarified. Are they talking about on-premise hardware running Eucalyptus or similar, or dedicated cloud infrastructure in a remote data center?

I’m reminded of the World Congress of Esperanto: every so often, experts gather to make sure every speaker of Esperanto across the world is on the same page, vocabulary and diction-wise. Maybe it’s time for the cloud services industry to follow suit and make sure we have a baseline to talk about this stuff.

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