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Cloud Computing: "Cloud Thinking" Abounds at Microsoft, Sun and Dell

Microsoft too is now seriously planning for the post-Windows era, and The Cloud features heavily

Hugh MacLeod's "Gaping Void" Blog

In the last couple of months I've been getting increasingly aware of "Cloud Thinking." It's seriously interesting to me. As far as I can tell, all three of the big tech companies I know best, Microsoft, Sun and Dell, seem to be betting a lot of their future on The Cloud. It was even just announced recently that Dell was applying to trademark the term, "Cloud Computing". Microsoft is now seriously planning for the post-Windows era, and you guessed it, The Cloud features heavily.

About a year ago, I was at a geek breakfast in London with Steve Clayton and some other folk, including a few people from Microsoft.

Steve and some other geeks were talking about "The Cloud". At the time Steve was making the transition from working in the UK Partner Division, to working in the "Software & Services" division of Microsoft, which is how the conversation came up.

Right then and there I drew the cartoon above. Steve saw it, and right away asked me if he could use the picture for his business card, which he now does.

That was the first time I really started paying attention to the term, "The Cloud".

I would by no means call myself an expert or an authority on the subject, but in the last couple of months I've been getting increasingly aware of "Cloud Thinking". It's seriously interesting to me.

As far as I can tell, all three of the big tech companies I know best, Microsoft, Sun and Dell, seem to be betting a lot of their future on The Cloud. It was even just announced recently that Dell was applying to trademark the term, "Cloud Computing". Heck, even my friends over at Techcrunch are looking to get a piece of the action.

Even today, I learned that Microsoft is now seriously planning for the post-Windows era, and you guessed it, The Cloud features heavily. And Businessweek just ran a big article on it:

A Sea Change in Computing

Some analysts say cloud computing represents a sea change in the way computing is done in corporations. Merrill Lynch (MER) estimates that within the next five years, the annual global market for cloud computing will surge to $95 billion. In a May 2008 report, Merrill Lynch estimated that 12% of the worldwide software market would go to the cloud in that period.

Those vendors that can adjust their product lines to meet the needs of large cloud computing providers stand to profit. Companies like IBM, Dell (DELL), and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), for instance, are moving aggressively in this direction. On Aug. 1, IBM said it would spend $360 million to build a cloud computing data center in Research Triangle Park, N.C., bringing to nine its total of cloud computing centers worldwide. Dell is also targeting this market. The computer marker supplies products to some of the largest cloud computing providers and Web 2.0 companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Yahoo (YHOO). "We created a whole new business just to build custom products for those customers," Dell CEO Michael Dell says.

I was also recently really surprised and delighted about all the discussion my last post, "The Cloud's Best-Kept Secret", seemed to generate. Not just the amount of discussion, but the quality of it, from some of the smartest people I know on the planet. People like Tim O'Reilly, JP Rangaswami, Dennis Howlett, James Governor, all piping in. Rock on.

And of course, there's the "Cloud Portraits" I've been drawing recently. Clouds, clouds, clouds... Clouds everywhere. Like West Texas in the rainy season etc.

What does this all mean? Frankly, I have no idea. I have no intention of becoming a "Cloud Blogger" or whatever, I'm just start to feel a connection here. Connections are my lifeblood. One of my favorite cartoons ever exists simply because I saw a connection between ego, emotion and typography. In 2005 I was the first person to see a connection between $5K English suits and the blogosphere [which back then, I can tell you, A LOT of people thought that was a bit of a stretch]. In 2006 I saw a similar connection between a small South African wine brand and the geek community of Silicon Valley.

This year I'm feeling the same sort of connection between all of the work I've been doing in the last year. It's hard to explain- it's visceral; it's like you can just smell it, even if it remains so far invisible. It's just there. A feeling, not quite yet a fact. And a wee voice keeps telling me that The Cloud is at the center of it somehow. Wait and see.


[This post appeared originally here and is republished in full by kind permission of the author, who retains copyright.]

More Stories By Hugh MacLeod

Hugh MacLeod is a cartoonist and professional blogger, known for his ideas about how "Web 2.0" affects advertising and marketing. His basic mantra about blog marketing is "Blogs are a good way to make things happen indirectly," a point lost on many corporate types. After a decade of working as an advertising copywriter, Hugh started blogging at gapingvoid.com in 2001. He first started off just publishing his cartoons, but as time wore on he started blogging about his other main interest i.e. marketing. Since 2006 he has been constantly engaged as a public speaker, giving talks in both Europe and the US, talking about Web 2.0 and the ramifications it has on business.



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