More on the Cloud as a Technology—Not

By Guy Currier  |  Posted Monday, October 31, 2011 16:10 PM

Commenter Andy replied to my post of last Tuesday with a response I’ve seen to both questions and declarations about what cloud computing is. My own declaration was that it’s not a technology, it’s an “approach,” and Andy’s reply was to that. But I’ve also seen his response many times before, including in research studies where we just ask people, What do you think cloud computing is?

And that response is: cloud computing definitely is a technology. In fact, it’s an old technology, that’s now being dressed up in new language for marketing purposes.

I guess I have to say that this is right. Well, except for the word “technology.” So let me defend that.

Most people saying that cloud computing is, in fact, a technology tend to cite some example, like application service provision (ASP) from the late ’90s, client-server from the early ’90s, or other similar ones (one cool survey responder said that he was doing cloud computing in the ’70s on his VT100—an illustration I’m sure readers will appreciate as much as I did).

So to show what I mean about cloud computing not being a technology, I usually explain that we’ve had it for at least 100 years. And I give my own example.

Can you guess what my 100-year old example of cloud computing is? Tune in a little later today for my follow-up post.