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Monday, November 24, 2008

Cloud Computing vs. Cloud Services

In September, Frank Gens provided an excellent overview of the the new "Cloud Computing Era". In preparing for an upcoming talk, I re-read the post and found myself appreciating it even more. His description of "cloud computing" and "cloud services" really highlights the difference between the commercial cloud computing market and the Federal cloud computing market.

(Paraphrased from Frank Gens' article)

When people talk about “cloud computing”, they are usually referring to things like software-as-a-service (SaaS) and storage or server capacity as a service. They may also talk about the many “non-IT” business and consumer services like shopping, banking, selling, collaborating, communicating and being entertained. In reality, these things represent an on-line delivery and consumption model for business and consumer services. These users are not explicitly buying “cloud computing”, but the “cloud services” that are enabled by cloud computing environments. Cloud computing is actually the emerging IT development, deployment and delivery model that enables real-time delivery of products, services and solutions over the Internet.

Federal government customers do use the Internet, but the vast majority of their business is done using private internets. In the DoD, for instance, we call these private networks NIPRnet, SIPRnet and JWICS. These customers are, however, very interested in learning about how emerging cloud computing models can be used within and between all of these networks.

The epiphany here is that, for the most part, the commercial cloud computing market is about making money providing cloud services while the Federal marketplace is about making money helping Federal customers design and build cloud computing infrastructures.

I may be oversimplifying this, but I welcome your thoughts.