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The problem with Cloud Computing is not the technology

Whenever you mention the phrase “cloud computing” to a group of people, you are probably confronted with several different interpretations of what that phrase means. The simple truth is that cloud computing is many things to many people. While the basic model of cloud computing is the same (sever and client based remote applications and computing), the specific mental pictures and, more importantly, the verbal descriptions of such a system vary almost as much as the extent of the imagination of the person you are talking to. And that is precisely where the problem lies with cloud computing. In this mobile age, where a rapidly growing number of people store and process data on an increasingly wide range of mobile devices, the need for cloud computing is obvious. Cloud technology ensures that we access, store, manage, and process our data wherever in the world we are and whenever we want. It even frees us from slavery to one OS, one platform, or even device. Yes, it is that powerful, but it suffers from total popular acceptance and comfort because it is stuck in a trap of how people conceptualize the technology.

If you can’t explain a technology in a simple and unified way, it is harder for people to fully unlock that technology. Comfort and usage are great but for cloud computing to fully take off, it needs a different metaphor and mental image. Most of us are comfortable with the underlying technology, that is not the issue. The issue is how we conceptualize what cloud computing is. For the technology to reach the next level of its development and interaction with popular needs and perception, it has to overcome the hard limits placed on its “cloud” metaphor. We are not dealing with distant clouds here, but ever present human needs transposed to a device/OS/software-independent format. Given the amount of power this technology has to transform the world even further, it is quite frustrating to see it still stuck in its current metaphorical form. Calling the technology behind cloud computing “cloud” computing is like calling Google a mere search engine-it is somewhat correct but misses the massive forest for the trees. Surely, marketing departments of software developers the world over is up to the challenge to change our paradigms by changing labels, right?