Namechanger = Gamechanger?

Several years back, a colleague of mine approached me to talk about cloud computing. I was a bit amused about the term he used – because I hadn’t heard about it before – and the idea that cloud computing will dramatically change the way we approach and do things in IT within the next years to come. But, because in my deepest inner self I’m a lazy guy ;-) –  I really liked the idea of using ready-to-use services, pay only what I consume, highly automated and standardized, accessible from anywhere, and with minimum human intervention – sounds (until today) like heaven to me :-)

And so I jumped on the marketing wagon, became knowledgeable about cloud computing, promoted the cloud idea during a lot of marketing and partner events, internally in the company and of course during my one-to-one customer meetings. But, the initial enthusiasm quickly swapped into a “why doesn’t everybody immediately want this: frustration. Why don’t they love this new approach, because it might help to solve a lot of their current issues?

When one starts to talk about cloud, one quickly realizes that depending on whom you speak to, cloud computing comes in different disguises, whether it’s IaaS, SaaS, public, private, and hybrid clouds, and others. Confusion is preprogrammed. I remember the feedback of a participant from an IBM Business Partner event several years ago. After eight cloud speeches during this event from various vendors and Business Partners, being asked at the end how they liked the event, one of the participants answered “I came here today with the idea that there are three to four distinct cloud models and now I understand that there must be at least nine or more – unfortunately I can’t recall anymore which these exactly are.” I personally don’t remember much from this event anymore, but this comment still is on my mind as if it was yesterday.

There is a saying – “as you will name a ship so it will float.” And, cloud computing is floating! No IT magazine without at least one article about cloud. Today, earlier adopters already have started to move towards cloud computing. Whoever first created this term and made it popular did an excellent job.

But, still there are a lot of companies hesitating to take this step. I strongly believe this hesitancy has to do with the still existing confusion around the term cloud computing and the fact that today almost every vendor is offering their solution as somehow cloud-washed. Subconsciously people are not willing to invest in something so vague such as cloud computing – they are waiting for something that is more concrete that helps to solve their business issues.

Today, the underlying technologies (virtualization, automation, self-service) are becoming more mature; for the sake of better understanding – can’t we come up with a different name for what we call today cloud computing? Would a name changer also be a game changer?

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Martin Menzel

About Martin Menzel

Martin is part of IBM Russia as manager of middleware services, IBM Global Technology Services. He has also served as an Enterprise Architect on the IBM Cloud Tiger Team.
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8 Responses to Namechanger = Gamechanger?

  1. Kler says:

    You are fully right! I think cloud is more or less doomed with such a name.

  2. Mike says:

    Changing the name will definitely help but if only this step will be done in the nearest future, because later this can be already too late. And of course to find the right new name is also an issue.

  3. @parkercloud says:

    Changing the name won't help only knowledge will. If we can learn to subnet IP addresses we can learn the few cloud types. The effort is worth it

  4. I totally agree that SOMETHING in the naming needs to change. It's a marketing nightmare. With each cloud provider offering their own definition of cloud computing (tailored to their own products), the consumer is left only more confused. Standards councils may be able to create a more universal understanding of the capabilities, services, and shortcomings of cloud — if providers are willing to contribute toward a greater understanding.

  5. Changing the name will only hurt its adoption. There's already been grid computing…utility computing…on-demand computing. Cloud computing is taking off (just ask Amazon or Rackspace) the only reason someone would change the name is to slow down its adoption or try to further confuse the public, in my opinion.

  6. @MartinIBM says:

    Thanks for your comments – its' quite interessting how devided the cloud community is on this topic. Got also several tweets – some pro's some con's. After thinking this through I personally agree with @undacuvabrutha that in the current state we are already too advanced – meaning, that changing from cloud to any other name might confused everybody once again.

  7. @MartinIBM says:

    @callmechelsea – good comment – I like the idea with the Standard council. The better certain cloud terms can be described the better is the understanding which brings transperency and clarity into Cloud. As IBM is working with the council too, I hope that this may be the way to make term cloud less cloudy….

  8. @MartinIBM – As far as I'm concerned the question of changing the name must be related to a big change in the concept or a redefinition of the concept.
    I definitively agree with @callmechelsea that there must be some kind of an open process if we want to find a new name. Maybe "The Open Group" can help with that, I don't know.

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