Powers Unfiltered

An entrepreneur’s journey into grid computing and partnering with Microsoft, by John Powers

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Last month’s least surprising (and least correct) cloud pronouncement

August 14th, 2008 · 2 Comments

OK, this one came out while I was on vacation, so it’s a little old, but I can’t let it pass.

The new head of Red Hat, Jim Whitehurst, says “The clouds will all run Linux.”

Really? What’s next? The head of Boeing telling us that all transportation will be via 787s? Or maybe a statement from OPEC saying that cars will all burn gasoline?

Get serious. “The Clouds” will run Linux and UNIX and Windows and OS X and whatever else paying customers want.

“The Clouds” are already running more than just Linux, and if cloud computing is going to grow beyond today’s super-early-adopter proof-of-concept market, it’s going to get more diverse, not less.

Every time there’s a new IT buzzword (oops, I mean “revolution”), some market-oblivious engineer or attention-deficit analyst declares that finally legacy computing is dead, a new paradigm is here, there’s One Right Way to do everything now, the open-source rapture is at hand, you’re free from your chains, yada yada yada.

But a guy like Jim Whitehurst should know better.  Yeah Jim, “the clouds” are going to kill Microsoft. Yeah Jim, “the clouds” mean Oracle is finished. Yeah Jim, “the clouds” will all run Linux, and Slashdot will replace all other news outlets.

I’ll have lots more constructive things to say about cloud computing soon here, but for now let me just say: the cloud computing offerings I’ve seen so far look a lot like computing. There’s hardware infrastructure, there are operating systems, there are development tools, there are applications, APIs, and user interfaces. There are administrative tools, management consoles, and buckets of kludgy tricks to make anything actually work the way you want it to work. Different vendors expose different parts of all this to their users in different ways as they struggle to differentiate. But anyone who believes that “the clouds” will “all” standardize on a single OS (or database, or programming language, or much of anything else) is just blowing smoke.

Tags: Cloud computing · Press coverage · Usability

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Colin Steele // Aug 19, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    From an end user’s perspective, cloud computing is supposed to look and feel like regular old desktop computing as much as possible. Why would hosting providers standardize on Linux when the vast majority of their customers want that Windows look and feel? Sure, you can host Windows software on a Linux back end, but why make it harder on yourself than it has to be?

  • 2 Recent Links Tagged With "buzzword" - JabberTags // Oct 8, 2008 at 9:19 am

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