Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Fall of Utility Computing and the Rise of The Cloud

The other day I was having a conversation with the founder of a former utility computing company. He was explaining that to him the difference between cloud computing and utility computing was semantics and the two were basically interchangable.

This did get me thinking. When Amazon EC2 first launched back in 2006 everyone including Amazon described these types of on demand, pay per use web service as "utility computing". Somewhere along the way the idea of cloud, a much less descriptive analogy for a metaphor was applied to describe Amazon Ec2 as well as just about every other hosted Internet application.

Amazon isn't alone in the move away from the use of the term utility computing to the use of cloud to describe their technology. Notability 3tera has also made the switch as well as virtually every other early "utility computing" company. I suppose the answer is obvious, the term utility was too utilitarian. Ironically the term utilitarian often refers to a somewhat narrow economic or pragmatic viewpoint, in our case to that of computing. This is something cloud computing certainly doesn't suffer from.

Just a random thought.

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