Jun 01, 2011

What is "cloud washing"?

I keep hearing the term "cloud washing" being used in relation to how people market cloud computing. What is cloud washing?


I'm sorry, but whenever I ask someone to define cloud, not only do I get a half dozen different answers, but every one of them defines a datacenter in one fashion or another. Please, enlighten us and tell us what is your definition of cloud?  Quite frankly I'm tired of marketing spinning up the same thing we had in the 90's with outsourcing datacenters as cloud.  I've been in this industry for decades and I've never before been so amazed at how clueless IT people have become, especially businesses that are trying to catch on to the soup du'jour of the day.  Companies don't want the responsibility or accountability of their own IT infrastructure anymore, and at some point in the future, they're going to realize it's not going to be easy getting it all back. You get some lazy, easy-out executives that come into companies, outsource everything to the cloud (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, etc), get their bonus for reducing CAPEX but increasing OPEX, reduce their own accountability and walk away rich, while others are left pondering why they don't want to keep their own Intellectual Property (IP) in-house.  Executives have been trying to drastically reduce costs and increase margins at the expense of the people on the bottom, regardless of what the future holds. They don't care because they've made their bonus and have walked out by the time the company realizes the model they went to isn't saving them anything, causes more headaches and their IP has leaked.  Are there benefits to going to the "cloud" - sure - if you look at specific cases, but not everyone should think it's an appropriate model. If people actually did the math (keep EBITDA in mind!!), they'd realize it was a wrong decision.  


Makes me sick.

SearchCloudStorage has a good definition of it. Here's a part of that. Click the link for the full definition.


"Cloud washing (also spelled cloudwashing) is the purposeful and sometimes deceptive attempt by a vendor to rebrand an old product or service by associating the buzzword "cloud" with it. "
Interest in anything related to the cloud is on the rise. 'Cloud washing" is just a term that refers to the marketing techniques employed by companies that are attempting to jump onto the cloud bandwagon, even when what they're offering isn't really cloud computing by definition. Essentially, marketing people can call anything "the cloud" and get attention. Since the definition of the cloud is fuzzy, and most consumers still think that anything delivered over the Internet is cloud computing, it's easy to pull this one off. Here's an example: A lot of vendors simply re-brand their existing products and deliver them over AWS, even while still retaining their original licensing model. I suppose if you stretch your imagination and squint your eyes, it may still be cloud computing, but they're not really living up to the "spirit" of what cloud computing is really meant to be. Another case in point: software as a service is really about deploying software from a common code base to an audience of multiple users. Once again, an ISV may be selling individual instances of a piece of software, with the only differentiator being that it is delivered over the Internet. Is it really cloud computing? Not in my opinion, and if that's how it's being sold to you, you're being short-changed. But that's how it's being marketed.
Answer this