This article originally appeared on Talkin' Cloud on August 14, 2014.
Considering the fact that every technology vendor these days has something it terms of a cloud offering, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the "true cloud" in many of them. The term "cloudwashing" comes to mind when trying to determine which cloud methodologies are real and which are simply rebranded attempts to put traditional software into a data center.
Most of the companies and vendors responsible for implementing software in enterprise or corporate IT environments—companies that many of us in the IT world refer to as value added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs)—are susceptible to this scam because they have been largely dependent on hardware and software manufacturers to create innovative technology, which they then deploy to customers. Since IT manufacturers today feel they are behind if they don't have a cloud solution, many of them have tweaked their traditional software to be "virtual ready," put it in a data center and proclaimed to the world that they have a cloud offering.
True Cloud is the New Technical Economy
Cloud is not simply moving software into a data center and presenting the costs of necessary hardware in creative leasing terms. True cloud is an entirely new technical economy that starts to remove redundant areas of technical overhead through virtualization and lessens resource overhead by eliminating unnecessary hand-off points between the application and the enterprise user.
In more relatable terms, it's like taking a direct flight rather than one with multiple layovers and connections. Yes, the plane ticket may be a little more expensive, but think about the savings in time, planning and resources (no lost "luggage" along the way). All of these factors add up to even more savings than what would have been saved on a plane ticket with multiple stops. The same is true for businesses that seek to be more efficient. In a true cloud environment, efficiency spreads and spreads, creating a sprawl that benefits both the general corporate worker and the corporate bean counter.
'Cloud' in Name Only
Unfortunately, for businesses that seek to integrate relevant technology, the benefits can be harder to find. The vendors these companies have traditionally called upon are simply placing their software (and all accompanying processes and potential points of failure) somewhere else, then slapping a sticker on it that says "CLOUD!"
Fortunately, I work for a company that "gets" true cloud communications. If you are a VAR or an IT integrator and the manufacturers that you sell, support, and validate are essentially equipping you with a solution they claim to be cloud, but all of the hoops you have to jump through seem disturbingly familiar, you may want to take a step back and see if you have been cloudwashed.