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Why Is the Cloud So Confusing?

One of my favorite questions when I interview people is: "Can you explain this to my grandma?"

Last week I wrote a guest blog post for Washington Technology Industry Association explaining What Applications Benefit the Most from the Cloud. While working on the post I looked around the Web and once again was reminded that, like with other technology the cloud is becoming more and more confusing. Don't understand me wrong! I do love the technology but there is always one thing that always baffles me - we (the techies) always invent new fancy terms and try to use those to sell the technology (it even happens quite often that we just call an old technology with new name and sell it again). Well, we are pretty good at confusing our customers with our fancy TLAs (TLA stands for three-letter-acronyms if you are wondering :)) hence I decided to start a series of posts explaining the cloud with much simpler terms.

One of my favorite questions when I interview people is: "Can you explain this to my grandma?" In the "Cloud Computing Explained" series I will try to give practical definitions and examples of every area in the cloud I can think of. It is well know that the best way for people to learn is to relate the new discoveries to something that they already know, hence I will try to explain the cloud with practical examples that you have already seen in the past (going so far back that you grandma may be able to relate:)).

Here is my initial list of things I would like to cover:

  • What is the cloud? Well, lot of people have different understanding about what cloud is - is it Google Docs, or is it AWS, and what part of AWS exactly?
  • Different clouds - IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, public, private and so on.
  • Why would someone want to use the cloud? Because it is cool and new? Well, maybe… :)
  • How much will you pay for the cloud? I hear it is cheaper than to buy but… Don't be surprised by the bill!
  • Should I throw all my applications in the cloud? Let's try with one first
  • Will the cloud vendors steal my IP? Am I locked with them forever? Well, depends…
  • And the nitty-gritty's of the cloud? I mean things like APIs, Services, SDKs and all the TLAs.

Of course this is a very high level list and I will be happy to hear feedback on the posts as well as what other topics you will find interesting to cover.

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More Stories By Toddy Mladenov

Toddy Mladenov has more than 15 years experience in software development and technology consulting at companies like Microsoft, SAP and 3Com. Currently he drives the sales engineering efforts of the private-PaaS startup Apprenda and consults enterprise customers on their cloud computing and software development strategies. Before Apprenda Toddy spent more than six years working on Microsft's cloud computing platform Windows Azure, Windows Client and MSN/Windows Live. During his career at Microsoft he managed different aspects of the software development process for Windows Azure and Windows Services. He also evangelized Microsoft cloud services among open source communities like PHP and Java. In the past he developed enterprise software for German's software giant SAP and several startups in Europe, and managed the technical sales for 3Com in the Balkan region.

With his broad industry experience, international background and end-user point of view Toddy has an unique approach towards technology. He believes that technology should be develop to improve people's lives and is eager to share his knowledge in topics like cloud computing, mobile and web development.