The essence of Cloud Computing

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking, and talking, about Cloud Computing. Describing it to technical and non-technical people alike can be hard. One great resource I have used is Graham Weston’s post on Cloud Confusion, which gives a great analogy to help clarify the definition of cloud computing.

Today, few of us generate our own power. Instead, we buy it from power companies. These companies generate and distribute electricity from massive centralized power plants that can cost over $1bl to build. Once created, the power travels at the speed of light over the power grid to your home. Cloud computing works the same way, but it comes from companies like Rackspace instead. And, the “power” is the power of computing...

The analogy helps to to describe what Cloud Computing is, but why does cloud computing matter? Graham says because “it’s cheaper and better”. I think there is one more reason why cloud computing matters though.

To steal a line from Now, Discover your Strengths and adapt it to technology, focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.

Every minute devoted to a weakness, is taking a time away from your strengths. The goal of every business should be to minimize the things that take you away from the core of your business. For Mailtrust, it was backups. For your business, it might be email or web hosting.

The funny thing is, this argument has been the main selling point for Mailtrust for a while. Here is a quote straight from the hompage.

As an extension of your IT department, Mailtrust manages and maintains your entire email service in our carrier-grade Rackspace data centers. Our business email hosting solutions free up your internal IT resources, allowing them to focus more on your core business strategies. We strive to alleviate your email system burdens, with reliable email and webmail services at a fraction of in-house costs.

Today’s cloud computing ecosystem has really just expanded on the SaaS services we have grown to love, and included more services, that reach even lower level computing needs that weren’t possible 10 years ago (stupid dial-up modems).

I love not having to worry about backups or web hosting. I want to focus on using my data, not how it is backed up. I want to focus on blogging, not what version of Apache I am running.

What is taking you away from your focus?