A nebulous frontier.
I tried to imagine the data. What did it look like? Were the collections like cumulus clouds? Were the users like sky-divers? Or were they hapless passengers thrown out the door, free-falling to their demise…
All apologies to Tron: Legacy there. But I think my parody sums up the wacky vision promoted by so many sales people and executive-level mumbo-jumbo speakers. They don’t know what it is. They talk about it like is a the next best thing, but I haven’t yet heard a sales, technical, or architecture person describe it in a way that makes real sense — something that makes it more than just a big blob of storage “out there” that can be used for “lost of cool stuff”.
Then I read this post by Lee Dallas. Nail, on, the, head … man. Perfect. This is what the cloud brings: data + context, permitting you to use any device to access the same data and have awareness. Whether it is a book, a paused movie, a spreadsheet, or whatever. The next step, of course, is full-blown programs that allow you to disconnect and reconnect to their instances from any device.
That makes it sound cool, in a tangible way … in a way that I understand and can explain to others.
I could go off about privacy concerns, but for now I’ll let this serve as a lengthy pointer to Lee’s post which is such a nice explanation of what “the cloud” means.