The biology of The Cloud

Posted on December 11, 2011

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Here’s the way I think of “The Cloud” – If I don’t have to worry about my data when I spill coffee on my laptop, then I’m using is The Cloud. In that vein, I’m in general agreement with Urquhart’s definition – “Cloud computing is an application-centric operations model.”

(After my visit to the Silicon Valley CloudCenter this week, I’ve devoted more reading time to “The Cloud.” Seems there’s an active discussion on how to define it.  James Urquhart’s post on GigaOM – “Why it’s so hard to talk about cloud” – offers an interesting philosophical perspective.)

To me, the Cloud is the top rung of the software taxonomy – the Kingdom. From there, you can break into Software (i.e. Salesforce) and Hardware Phylums (i.e. Amazon EC2).

In the Software Phylum, communication applications break into Classes – Email and doc-sharing (Google, DropBox), CRMs (Salesforce, HighRise), project management (FogBugz, Sprintly, Basecamp), and social applications. Each of these break into Orders – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all social apps that have distinctly different characteristics and user expectations for example.

As a corporate manager, my ultimate focus is that our team knows how to use each when they should in relation to the business – Twitter for ral-time customer interaction, Salesforce for recording this interaction, and LinkedIn for finding more qualified contacts, and FogBugz to record product enhancements resulting from these interactions.