Today's cloud computing landscape is as complex as it is to decipher what the term actually means.
Last week, an animated Steve Mills made it clear in an interview with me that for him the cloud is nothing new. Mills leads the software group at IBM and spoke critically of the all-inclusive nature of what the cloud means. The cloud is more an evolution than an innovation. It's an extension of the computer as a metaphor for the transition from the mechanical age to the information age. The computer gives us a space and the cloud is an extension of that space.
Mills's remarks provide a point of context to an infographic from Wikibon that demonstrates how definitions about cloud computing continue to be muddled.
"Today's Cloud Computing Landscape," breaks the cloud into three categories: private/Enterprise Cloud; public cloud and hybrid cloud.
Breaking the cloud landscape into categories gives only a partial context for what the cloud encompasses. For example, VMware is also considered a hybrid cloud provider. IBM could fit into both categories, too. Both are listed only as private cloud providers.
The infographic does give a view of the companies playing in this new space but its organization takes away from the broader context of what the cloud encompasses. It also minimizes the influence of companies such as Amazon.com, which is widely considered the most innovative provider in the cloud landscape. It also includes Twitter, which is a bit of a stretch.
As a landscape representation, I'd prefer to see these companies represented as mountains more than clouds. Instead the infographic layers clouds into classifications that take away from what the cloud is really about.
Mills perspectives ring true to some extent. Views about cloud computing are not taking into account the transformations that come with cloud computing. The market is evolving to meet business demands. The drive to create more applications comes from a demand for more ways to use programmatic tools for managing information.
It's not as much about categorizing the cloud as it is about understanding how the extensions we create help us better understand the new spaces that are generated as businesses evolve to adopt information infrastructures.