it’s official: i hate the term “cloud”

This is too good not to repost. Via Chuvakin, I got linked over to an article on CSOOnline: 5 Mistakes a Security Vendor Made in the Cloud. I think this is a kick-ass article for three reasons. First, these are many of the same points I’ve been making since I first heard the term “cloud” a year ago. Second, no shit these are problems. These are problems in traditional software (from notepad apps to OS). Cloud will not fix them. Not without incurring tons of cost and stealing away the efficiencies that cloud exists to take advantage of. The “cloud” still has an identity crisis not just with itself but in how it has been marketed and defined by everyone else: it doesn’t know whether it is a service (customized) or a commodity (one size fits all). Customers think they want commodity (Salesforce!) and vendors want to give commodity. But business doesn’t work well with commodity IT solutions and tend to drop over into customized stuff, which (real) cloud vendors really can’t offer without simply being another word for outsourcing your IT/development.

The third reason this is a kick-ass article: it illustrates the bastardization of the term “cloud” because the example is not what I call “cloud.” The examples given in each mistake do not sound like a “cloud” solution but rather a centrally managed software app. Nothing more. I would call that a case of marketing being stupid. You could place the name, Microsoft (Windows) or Symantec (AV) into each mistake and it’d fit. Those aren’t cloud.

Anyway, here are the 5 mistakes.

MISTAKE 1: Updating the SaaS product without telling customers or letting them opt out – Updating customers should be done, but even traditional software will often not be clear. And even if you update customers, far too many won’t give a shit until it breaks something. Letting customers opt out is a recipe for disaster. Part of the beauty and draw of “cloud” is that you can make robust, agile solutions that will fit a wide swath of your customers. But if you allow customers to opt out, you’ve just created lots of little exceptions and splinters all of which will end up being maintained specially, or being called “legacy.” Traditional IT and software knows this well.

MISTAKE 2: Not offering a rollback to the last prior version – Same problem applies here, too. The ideal goal should be to never have exceptions. But I believe “cloud” just can’t do that in every solution. Salesforce can do it. “Cloud” computing for business intelligence cannot (imo, it’s too customized). That or we’re too muddled on what “cloud” means…

MISTAKE 3: Not offering customers a choice to select timing of an upgrade
– Sort of defeats the purpose of “cloud” and either gets us back to traditional software or a managed services provider. Neither of which I consider “cloud.”

MISTAKE 4: New versions ignore prior configurations or settings, which creates instability in the customer environment – This is one reason why products bloat. The larger they get and more Voltron-like they are (especially through acquisitions by larger giants) the more they bloat and look like ass, because you can’t take things away. At any rate, this sounds like a software upgrade process problem, not a “cloud” issue.

MISTAKE 5: Not offering a safety valve – Why would “cloud” do this?

One thought on “it’s official: i hate the term “cloud”

  1. Spot on about the Microsoft and Semantec
    The vendor in question was in fact _a major competitor of the latter_ of these two……………

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