It is quite a remarkable feeling to watch as the pieces fall into place and the picture, anticipated for so long, is finally revealed in all its splendour. As with any jigsaw that lacked a guiding picture on the box, the final result is that inevitable mix of vindication and surprise. Some areas of the picture are wholly unexpected, some look as one predicted, while across most of the image there are new facets to explore in familiar places, anticipated scenes to compare with long-held expectations, and assumptions to challenge or validate.
Recent advances in the business of cloud computing form just such a picture and reach out to encompass previously unrelated aspects of Web 2.0, the semantic web, platform computing, software as a service (SaaS), and the economics of disruption.
Not merely some game of buzzword bingo on an unprecedented scale, cloud computing is coming into its own, and it is becoming increasingly easy to see the opportunities for a significant shift in the way we access computational resources and to recognize that the walls separating organizations from their peers, partners, competitors, and customers will become ever-more permeable to the flow of data through which those distant machines will compute.
There are many areas to understand that have already been ascertained in related fields, and many ideas unique to this space to discover. One early challenge is to carve a distinct niche for the place we are moving towards with such rapidity. Far more than “just” a cloud, it is an evolutionary cycle beyond the playful flippancy that diminishes so many of Web 2.0’s poster children, and it is difficult to relate to mainstream misconceptions of the semantic web’s complexity. Yet this new place is greater than the sum of its parts. So do we sustain the already ephemeral notion of cloud computing? Do we appropriate the “next big thing” label of Web 3.0? Or do we need a fresh attitude towards business computing’s apparently insatiable desire to apply labels?
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