Sorry, but it has just gotten to the point where it had to be said out loud.
Take any claim about cloud computing from anybody that is trying to sell you something in 2010 and discount it 99 percent.
A Dec. 14 press release from a services provider called Glasshouse is the thing that has kicked off my rant, but you'll find similar misleading information about cloud computing on the Web sites of most of the leading IT suppliers, in standards group propaganda and in blog posts ad nauseum.
I'm not saying cloud computing is not real. As I mentioned recently in this post about Red Hat, where virtualization and other emerging technologies are interestecting with business needs like service level agreements, call it all cloud computing as shorthand if you want. But when a vendor says:
Among IT executives surveyed by GlassHouse, 72 percent consider internal clouds their highest priority.
...that's the beginning of a sales pich. In other words, surprise,surprise, you want to continually improve your network, which has been renamed an "internal cloud."
All this misleading buzzword generation starts with the Wikipedia definition of cloud computing, which begins with the sentence:
Cloud computing is Internet-based development and use of computer technology.
A sales pitch that begins with circular logic like that should be a dead giveaway that a potential IT scam is in progress. It actually worked the other way around. The Internet is based on cloud computing, which has been available since almost the beginning of the modern IT era. We simply called them networks (as did the phone company, which actually invented the term "the cloud" in this context).
The Wikipedia definition, most of which is based on news articles that were promoted to the press by IT vendors, goes on to say:
In concept, (cloud computing) is a paradigm shift whereby details are abstracted from the users who no longer need knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure "in the cloud" that supports them.
"Paradigm shift" is usually a dead giveaway as well. There is a paradigm shift once or twice a millennium. Understanding that the earth revolved around the sun and the theory of relativity might be the two most recent examples. Cloud computing is not.