(Stephen Parker, Head of Cloud Strategy, NewLease)
Despite the efforts of the IT industry to differentiate by trying to define increasingly focused language (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, DaaS, TaaS etc etc) it will as always be customers who decide the language that finally lands in our long term vocabulary. Experience shows us that in general they pick something so simple that to many in the world of technology it is too generic and hence meaningless. This is why (IMHO) there is a counter-intuitive logic that ensures the use of “Cloud” will stick.
We can all get excited about trying to provide a detailed and exacting definition of “Cloud” however for the end user it works for the simple reason that they can understand it as “business services that I need that are accessed via the internet and are looked after by somebody else”. The fact that IT experts then need to ask about geo-redundancy, data ownership in diverse geo-political deployments, degrees of elasticity required, flexibility to customize or simply configure, desired billing models, multi or single tenant, if a finished service or infrastructure building blocks are needed etc etc is irrelevant to their core use of “Cloud”.
We do not have to go too far back in time to find a similarly meaningless term that resonated with users – Desktop Computing. For the user it was simple: We used to have mainframes in the data centre and now I have a computer on my desk, so it must be Desktop Computing. The experts would of course clarify this by asking what was the OS, was it connected to a network, how big was the hard disk etc etc. But for the user none of this mattered, they knew what they had, the new flexibility it provided and could just get on with their job.
And it is exactly the same today. People want to get on with their jobs and not have to become IT experts to understand how to do this. Cloud will stick because it has meaning to the users and if that means the IT expert has to interpret this “meaning” to deliver the appropriate flavour of Cloud then all the better because this is where we can use our experience to add value and hence get paid.