Thursday, May 14, 2009

Buzz phrase du jour

Came across another, to me, really dumb term this morning: Private Clouds. I'm still not all that comfortable with "cloud computing," mind you. Differentiating it from last year's Software as a Service (SaaS) where the service is outsourced presents issues to me - issues of why call something a new name when the old one works just as well. So too with this oxymoron "Private Clouds". The author starts by appropriating (from the Berkeley RAD Lab's cloud computing report) a definition of cloud computing. Of course, he goes on to state "...that the RAD Lab specifically states that they do not consider internal (i.e., private) clouds to be 'real' clouds..." This doesn't stop him, though and he blunders on.

Perhaps I just understand this part better, but his comments on Identity Management left me chuckling:

"A robust identity management system needs to be in place to enable automation. Requests for computing services will come not from a sit-down meeting where authentication and authorization will be done on a personal basis - i.e., direct face-to-face interaction enabling the resource granter to identify the legitimacy of the request and the requestor - but from an service request via a software-enabled mechanism like an internal portal."
Ask any mid-sized to large enterprise IdM manager when was the last time that provisioning was done via a "direct face-to-face interaction"! Automated, even self-service, IdM has been around since long before the "cloud" paradigm was ever contemplated and its use does not constitute evidence of the elusive "private cloud" architecture, but of a robust enterprise IdM system.

Calling a POCS (Plain Old Client-Server) system a "private cloud" simply because you've added some self-service elements succeeds only in muddying the waters at a time when clarity is needed. Let's agree to drop this foolish term.

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