October 20, 2013 | In: Opinion

Cloud and Snake Oil

I was going to title this post “Why I don’t respect technology companies that use the term cloud”, but I figured it was a very long title, so I went with a shorter title.

Let me get straight to the point: Cloud is about saving your data somewhere on the Internet on one or multiple servers. That’s about it! And people were doing this since the dawn of the Internet. In fact, if you’re using IMAP, you are using the cloud. If you’re uploading a file to your web server, you are using the cloud. Everything that has to do with document storage on the Internet, it’s really cloud usage.

Many technology companies right now are using the term “Cloud” to describe their Document Management Systems (DMS), which existed for at least 15 years now (and I’m being very conservative), so, there’s nothing new about the cloud whatsoever. In fact, the cloud is something old, dinosaur old, in terms of computing.

Some other, large companies are using the term cloud to describe distributed hosting, again, something that existed since the beginning of the Internet.

So, what’s the point behind this term?

Well, it’s really a marketing gimmick. The cloud is being marketed as the best thing since sliced bread – it’s the panacea to everything in this world. It’s the future. Everything is going to be in the cloud. The problem is that many companies out there (including technology companies) now believe this. I can picture this conversation between a company’s CEO and his IT Manager: “I think we need to advance the technological aspect of this company – we need to use the cloud”, says the CEO. The IT Manager responds “We are technically already using the cloud.” to which the CEO responds: “It doesn’t seem so – what do you think of using Product X from Company Y?”. The IT Manager rolls his eyes.

I am all for companies making money, but I just don’t like it when money is made by misleading others. The cloud isn’t the future, it’s the past and the present – it’s how things were done and are still done. Nothing has changed – except for the fancy name, of course.

If you think my theory is wrong, just ask any company what the cloud really is, and once they answer, you can answer back with one of the following:

  • “Isn’t that called a Document Management system?”
  • “Isn’t that called a collaboration tool?”
  • “Isn’t that called server balancing/distributed storage?”
  • “Isn’t that called the Internet?”

I suspect you’ll get a moment of silence.

Just before going with any company using the cloud, ask yourself, is it worth going with a company that treats its potential clients as morons?

By the way, the sad fact is that even the biggest companies are using the term cloud. So, it might be that I am wrong and the cloud does really exist or it might be that the term cloud is irresistible to use even for large companies.

I need to stop writing now, I have to go start my own cloud computing company. Ridiculous.

This article (as well as all other articles on this website) is an intellectual property and copyright of Fadi El-Eter and can only appear on fadi.el-eter.com.

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