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The Cloud Wars - Is Guitar Hero a Cloud?

If you are a SaaS, PaaS, or a IaaS you are probably a cloud

John Willis's Blog

I was reading a recent post about the Merrill Lynch’s research note titled “The Cloud Wars: $100+ billion at stake” and it started me thinking about the cloud vs. IT infrastructure question again. As the cloud-o-sphere tries to define this “cloud” thing, myself included, it seems like the list of who is a cloud just keeps getting longer and longer. I originally thought the Forrester 11 list was a little to long when it included and Akamai as cloud providers. The general consensus seems to be, if you are a SaaS, PaaS, or a IaaS you are probably a cloud and this makes the list even longer.

Is Guitar Hero a Cloud?

So, today when I read that Merrill Lynch added Activision and Digital Reality to the cloud, it becomes clearer to me we may have met the “All’s Fair” saturation point. If you want to be a cloud just say you are a cloud. In fact if you are a vendor and you don’t figure out a way to call yourself a cloud you will probably be at a competitive disadvantage. In the late 1980’s there was a similar phenomenon with “Client Server”. Just when everything in IT was being called “client server” the term seemed mysteriously vanished from the IT lexicon.

Is World of Warcraft a Cloud?

Are MMORPGs and Virtual Worlds Clouds? Aren’t we basically saying that almost everything that provides a service is a cloud? Or is a cloud just all the IT infrastructure minus the hardware?

More Stories By John Willis

John Willis has been working in ESM/IT Management for over 30 years. For the last 12 years he's been deep in the Tivoli community as an enterprise trainer and architect/implementor.

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Most Recent Comments
MiamiWebDesigner 08/24/08 11:58:15 AM EDT

Is the new ADP ... or the next Datapoint?
What will happen if blue sky clears the cloud?


This headline recently appeared in several places across the Web:

" Passes $1 Billion Annual Revenue Mark"

THIS IS NOT TRUE. I don't know whether this material misstatement arose from media manipulation or an honest mistake, but it's genesis is most likely this 20 August 2008 press release...

" Announces Record Fiscal Second Quarter Results"

...the subheading of which claims:

"First Ever Software as a Service Company to Exceed $1 Billion Annual Revenue Run Rate"

THIS IS NOT TRUE, EITHER. "Software as a Service" is marketing technospin for "service bureau". And payroll processing giant ADP--another service bureau--exceeded not only a "run rate" but actual annual revenues of $1 billion in 1985:

"The original outsourcer, Automatic Data Processing..."

Yes, did report revenues of $263 million for their most recent quarter. And yes, they have raised "FY09 Revenue Guidance to $1.070 - $1.075 Billion". But NO, has NOT passed the "$1 Billion Annual Revenue Mark". And despite Cheerleader/CEO Marc Benioff's effusive exuberance, some like Tiernan Ray do not share his enthusiasm:

"Salesforce's Deferred Revenue Debacle"

Perhaps in an effort to meet ever-inflating investor expectations--a fire they themselves have fueled--Mr. Ray notes that Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Nemeroff "...thinks Salesforce may be pushing customers to sign more multi-year subscription contracts by lower prices, which could be hitting deferred revenue." And reading that, for me, brought on a disturbing case of Datapoint deja vu:

"By the early 1980s, Datapoint was a Fortune 500 company. Under immense pressure to increase sales figures, its sales representatives encouraged customers to place large orders at the end of the fiscal year, permitting the company to count the orders as revenue even though the money had not been received and, in some instances, the sold equipment had not yet even been produced.... When some of the customers went broke before paying their bills, Datapoint had to reverse sales or record substantial bad debts, which caused the company to lose $800 million of its market capitalization in a matter of a few months in early 1982. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered Datapoint to stop this practice."

Is the new ADP ... or the next Datapoint? Some say their business model is to take your watch and then bill you for the time. If so, what will happen to all those watches if blue sky clears the cloud?

Bruce Arnold, Web Design Miami Florida

Roland Judas 07/20/08 04:57:26 PM EDT

I am following the cloud discussions for some months now and I had to learn, that the definition of clouds is not that easy, which is ok, as the new paradigm might change IT substancially. Having this in mind, I am really convinced that it goes to far to say that anyone who operates a bunch of servers is called a cloud provider.
I tried to prove my criticism, but i didn't find exact figures for Activision or WoW network, exept for some post saying there are about 1.500 server. This number doesn't really impress me that much.
Just my 0.02 cents

BorisB 07/09/08 10:20:22 AM EDT

some actual color or concrete facts on this Guitar Hero/WoW being cloud players would be nice.

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