The Cloud News Pours Down


When it comes to cloud computing news, when it rains, it pours. Yesterday, we blogged about a cloud project announced by Intel, Yahoo and HP. That wasn't all the news this week: eWEEK reports on IBM's plans to build big data centers in North Carolina and Tokyo and The Register yesterday said that Sun is moving its utility computing efforts into a separate business to be called Network.com.


IBM's North Carolina facility will cost $360 million to build. The tone of the Times story is clearly skeptical about the cloud concept. It says that cloud computing has been bandied about for several years without taking firm hold. What perhaps is different today, the piece says, is the emergence of the low-cost Linux operating system as a means to drive the concept. The writer quotes an IBM executive as saying that demands generated by mobility and the more diverse types of data that must be sent to all those devices is helping set the stage for the ambitious platform.


The Register piece says that the creation of Network.com was announced inside Sun in June. It is not a great sign that internal meetings reportedly are focusing on the nature and operations of the new business. Having such meetings after committing to the project seems to be a bit of a backwards approach. The story provides background on Sun's utility efforts, which date back to 2005. The story does not say whether the creation of the new business unit signals a substantive change in the actual running of Sun's overall cloud initiative.


The future of cloud computing -- people have been writing that phrase for a long time, it seems -- is the topic of this post by venture capitalist Allan Leinwand. Today, the VC says, clouds are application-specific. He looks 10 years down the road and suggests that the winners in the cloud game will be the vendors that create the best environments for the most users.


For an infrastructure that the IT and business jury still is out on, cloud computing has quite a history. This post, written by Brian de Haaff -- who was at Concentric Networks during the first wave of cloud computing, which then was called the application service provider segment -- says the category will succeed this time. He acknowledges that there is a great deal of hype and that all the definitions are confusing. This time around, he says, the platforms are more mature, and he provides several interesting data points to back that notion. The piece ends with a nice chart that sorts through the many confusing definitions.


Cloud computing indeed is confusing. It also retains its promise. What remains to be seen is whether the evolution of the concept is enough to make yesterday's flop tomorrow's success.