Management @en

Please Stop CloudWashing!

I am often asked how it’s possible to identify true cloud computing. In general the tenor is: “Hey, we’ve outsourced our data processing to a service provider in his data center. So we do cloud, right?”

Hm, be careful! In the recent past cloud computing was abused by the marketing departments of some providers. This has led to dilution the term and has give him the attribute “hype”.

This “invention” is called cloudwashing. Mostly implemented by established internet service provider, webhoster, or companies who did not understand what cloud computing basically means. The results are old products, usually virtual servers or ASP services, equipped with a “cloud label” on it, like “cloud server” or something with the term “cloud” or “as a service” in it, e.g. to recognize at a monthly fee or you have to manually adapt the scalablity of your infrastructure. Another example is the need to install a local software component like the Java environment when using a SaaS application.

The main problem of cloudwashing is the awareness of the general public to think that everything(!) that is provided over the internet is per se CLOUD today! That is totally untrue BUT the marketing departments reinforce this thinking.

Say No To CloudWashing!

The reason of cloudwashing is simpel. Cloud companies like Amazon (AWS) or Google have an immense head start of about six years. Established providers are forced to jump on the very fast driving cloud train. Due to their technological disadvantage and not existing cloud thinking they are just able to create a new cloud label or campaign.

To identify a true cloud computing offering just look on the following characteristics. (The list is necessarily not complete.)

  • On Demand:
    I obtain the resources at the time when I actually need them and “give them back” afterwards.
  • Pay as you Go:
    I only pay for the resources that I actually use, when I use them. The ressources are charged either per user or per gigabyte or per minute/ hour.
  • No basic fee:
    Using a true cloud computing offering, I’ll not pay a monthly / yearly fee!
  • High availability:
    If I need the resources I can use them at this time.
  • High scalability:
    The resources can be adjusted automatically to my needs. This means that they either grow with my needs if I need more power or decrease if the requirements lose weight again.
  • High reliability:
    The resources that I use are available at the time when I actually need them – I can rely on that.
  • Blackbox:
    I need not worry about how it looks inside the cloud offering. I just use the service through an open, well documented interface.
  • Automatization:
    After I’ve made ​​a basic setup concerning my needs (IaaS), no further manual intervention during the use of the service is required. I must not adjust e.g. the performance of the server or the amount of space manually. For me, automation options are provided.
  • Access via the Internet:
    This is discussible. However, the cost advantage obtained through cloud computing is obsolete, if an expensive exclusive leased line is required in order to use the resources of a provider.
  • No additional installations:
    When using a SaaS offering the complete access takes place via the web browser without installing any additional software components like Java (environment).

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

Leave a Reply