"Virtual server rental" companies, i.e.
infrastructure companies, do not
fall into my definition of "cloud computing."
To my definition, "cloud computing" is "hardware as a service,"
and it is specifically oriented to "software as a service"
offerings. A cloud computing provider, as I have named it, is not simply providing an equivalent to a rack-mounted machine (or portion thereof), minus the Cat-5 cables. To me, a "cloud computing" provider is delivering a dynamically real-time scalable
computing resource to you, packaged and delivered specifically "as a service" to support your software "as a service" offerings.
If you surf to the WikiPedia article, section on "Service Models"
, you will notice that I am identifying with Platform as a Service (PaaS)
specifically, but that there are four service-models listed in the article. The term "cloud computing" is, in common usage, therefore quite ambiguous until the particular service-model being discussed is agreed to by all parties to the conversation. There are also four distinct deployment-models.
One service-model is
the liquor-store, or even, if you prefer, the public building in which you are free to get privately or not-so-privately drunk while someone's stealing your wallet. Others are much more like a "speakeasy" ... you can't just walk in there, you can't just do anything you want to once you're inside, you're being watched, and you'll be thrown out if you try to steal somebody's wallet (unless you tip the doorman as you walk out with it
I thik that we're heading toward PaaS and SaaS models in a terrific
-big hurry, because these models provide much greater coverage of both business-risks and business-costs through leverage of the economies of scale. Even the simplest "cloud" models already get rid of all those noisy servers and big power-bills; other interpretations of "cloud" do much more, and I think that they will change the nature of the game as we know it now.