Home > Cloud Computing, Misc > The Cloud and Cotton Candy

The Cloud and Cotton Candy

The other day I was asked a far too familiar question…

          “What is a cloud?”
Oh, man – here we go…

Like a kid in a candy store, I began to discuss the origins and evolution of IT.  Servers, storage, networks, virtualization… on and on, reveling in exercising my cloud muscle.  IaaS, PaaS, SaaS… every “*aaS” I could think of!  Vendors, strategies, theories, models… it was an amazing tribute to one of our most talked about spaces, if I do say so myself.

The response from the interested party?

          “Well, it kinda looks like cotton candy.  Hey!  Let’s get some cotton candy!” 

At this point, I should note that the question came from my five year old.  And the question was actually phrased, “Daddy, what is a cloud?”

Often, those of us in the tech world that live and breathe the bleeding edge forget to translate all this cool gadgetry into tangible benefits for the rest of the world.  Not that the “rest of the world” couldn’t grasp the technical concepts, but great technologies are often great because of the simple benefits they bring.

So again – “what is a cloud?”

  • For the small business, cloud could mean more focus on core competencies and less on IT.
  • Cloud can help drive better efficency when it comes to power consumption and carbon footprint, helping the environment.
  • In the case of the State of Minnesota who has agreed to begin adopting cloud computing, it could mean less long-run overhead and costs associated with running the state – which could turn into more services, less taxes, etc. (Learn more about this development at http://bit.ly/bz47j4.)

Now there’s no need to try and translate every tech concept into layman’s terms, but for better or worse, cloud’s getting a lot of play.  It’s important we remember to articulate the value of these amazing technologies into terms that demonstrate how it makes the world better.

How have you answered the question “What is a cloud?” with non-techies you’ve encountered? 

Share your stories here or tweet me on twitter (@jbgeorge).

OK, then – I’m off to get some cotton candy.

Until next time,

Joseph B George
@jbgeorge / www.jbgeorge.net

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