Cloud computing as paradigm shift (notes on awesome talk by @swardley via @cloudbook)

I like the broad sweep view that Simon takes here. It’s a nice meta view on the notion ( that cloud is a heavily overloaded term – so much so that it means everything and nothing.

A proof point for cloud being like the industrial revolution and centralization of power generation would be to revisit writings from these eras to see how they were talked about at the time, and whether there were similar buzzwords used to describe ‘the age of’ … or whether these things are only visible in retrospect. On the other hand, as William Gibson says, “The future is already here – it is just unevenly distributed” — perhaps we’re already at the point of reviewing changes that have occurred in pockets and the (start of the) revolution is over.

Simon summarizes the work of Nicholas Carr on ‘IT doesn’t matter’ (more recently ‘the Big Switch’) with a single table showing how technologies commoditize and that the biggest change for IT is that it has become a cost of doing business rather than an innovation driver. Implication is that standardization, simplification, and reducing cost becomes the imperative which then becomes one of the many drivers for “the cloud”. This is undoubtedly true.

Implications for Citrix — For a long time, Citrix has provided tools to turn IT into a utility — the Citrix Cloud Center ( will provide the same functionality in a world where IT assets live both inside and outside the datacenter. This forms part of the armory for IT organizations (and companies in general) to continue the inexorable cost reduction forced by IT becoming ‘just’ a cost of business.

‘Cloud’ is best understood as a shorthand for the changes wrought by the internet and by IT surpassing the core needs of business. It is a label for a range of new technologies, capabilities, and uses of the same.

Cloud is NOT a technology nor an end in itself.


[post updated to reflect twitter conv with Simon Wardley]

Here’s a blog post from Simon on the issue:

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