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Cloud Expo: Opinion

Don't Blame Cloud Computing for the Amazon Fiasco

It Sounds Like Fake Cloud Computing Was Subbed In for the Real Thing

One of my fearless predictions for 2011 involved CNN's Wolf Blitzer talking about Cloud Computing. Now, with the Amazon AWS debacle, this may come to pass. I won't know directly, as I avoid all American TV media.

But I did hear an NRP piece this morning that mentioned "Cloud Computing" and the concerns about security and reliability that "may" prove the point of many "doubters," according to the report.

The ubiquitous use of weasel words such as "may" by NPR and so many others limits their credibility to about zero. "May" and "might" and "could" mean nothing at all. As far as the Amazon troubles, I want to know, is Cloud Computing the culprit or not?

Well, I'll answer that question for the big news orgs. No, it is not. Don't blame this on the Cloud anymore than you blame a blackout on electricity. We still want electricity, right?

It appears that Amazon was siloing its hosted server activities to a degree in which they could be brought down. I've spoken over the past year to numerous groups about the "illusion of infinite elasticity" that comes with big Cloud services, whether you are a Facebook user or have contracted with someone to pump in your computing power at a metered rate.

The illusion of infinite elasticity is very closely related to the willful suspension of disbelief that we must grant moviemakers. If we don't buy into the fact that what we see on the silver screen is somewhat real (perhaps "virtually real"), then we'd never tear up, laugh out loud, or feel moved by any movie. It's all fake!

With Cloud Computing, Amazon has clearly punctured any illusion its users had about the true resources it had in play and what could happen to them. It's a black eye for Amazon, but shouldn't be for the Cloud. Amazon was apparently not virtualizing things nearly effectively enough to provide true Cloud Computing to its big customers.

So now we know that Fake Cloud Computing doesn't work. This will have serious consequences; I would think the industry may see its growth rate impeded over the next year or so by this fiasco. But it shouldn't impede Cloud Computing's momentum in the long term.

In fact, as soon as a couple of months from now, I would expect numerous vendors at Cloud Expo in New York to explain why what happened to Amazon's customers won't happen to other companies' customers. No more Fake Cloud Computing. We need it to be Virtually Real.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.