We have redefined cloud computing to include everything we currently do.” –Larry Ellison, 2008


Sandy from the Cynics’ Squad helpfully points me to a 2008 interview Larry Ellison gave where he puts the cloud-computing hype marketers in their place in very entertaining and complete fashion.

So, this is more, then, on what cloud computing isn’t. And I do know where Sandy (and Larry) are coming from. I felt the same way myself. In fact, I have felt the same way about a lot of developments over the years—most recently, about the iPad. (I was stunningly wrong on that one.)

The problem is that basically what Ellison is saying is that cloud computing isn’t anything. Because if it’s “everything,” therefore it must be nothing, nothing at all. Which is true enough in one sense, but doesn’t help us learn anything, either.

Ellison has a long history deriding, discounting, and insulting technological developments that fall outside of Oracle territory. He’s made billions, and helped thousands and thousands of customers (and by extension millions of consumers), with a strategy that includes making such statements. Bully for him. But there very clearly actually is something to this cloud-computing movement, even if there is also a lot of confusion about what cloud computing itself is. So we should keep talking about it, until we clear that up. No?

“I have no idea what anyone is talking about,” Ellison says later in the same interview, for laughs. I remember feeling the same way, at least once, about just about everything.

In the case of cloud computing, I hope my noodling around helps, eventually.

(Still to come: Cloud computing dates back 100 years!)