Lately there seems to be a minor debate among the clouderati about the semantic differences between the term "the cloud" versus the use of "cloud computing". So I thought I'd jump into the fray.
As someone who spends his days eating, breathing and sometimes drinking cloud computing, it's fun to see how the debate has recently devolved into a debate purely focused upon the finer semantic nuances of the various terminologies. The debate seems to generally focus on the varied usages within the companies that are attempting to "cloud-ify" themselves & their products/services. This cloudification seems to be the trend du'jour within the technology industry, an attempt to augment marketing materials and or product positioning to include cloud related buzz words, whether they make sense or not.
Actually one of the better stated criticism comes from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison who observes that cloud computing has been defined as "everything". It's everything and nothing in particular, a trendy word that is used more to impress than explain a particular problem. I for one completely agree.
As a marketing term, cloud has enabled us to broadly define the movement away from the desktop / server centric past to the cloud [Internet] enabled future. Wikipedia's cloud definition says it well, "it is a paradigm shift where technological details are abstracted from the users who no longer need knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure "in the cloud" that supports them". Yup, enough said.
This message is to of you -- the ones who are jumping on the cloud bandwagon, let me say this as plainly as possible. Regardless of whether it's "the cloud" or "cloud computing" it all comes back to the fact that it's a buzzword. A way to say we're cool, we're now, we're new, with out saying it directly (a neologism). It's the New Coke of Computing / the new taste of the Internet.
So what is The Cloud? It's the Internet. And what is Cloud Computing? It's the next big thing in computing, it's using the Internet.