Once More Unto the Cloud, Dear Friends

Anthony Malakian, deputy editor, BST

At Monday's Waters USA conference I had an interesting conversation with DataArt's Alexei Miller. He says that for all the talk about cloud technology, most of it is spurious. I agree.

Everything gets called “cloud” these days, and as a result this homogenized definition has been bent to mean everything from virtualization to grid to platform-as-a-service. As State Street CIO Chris Perretta put it, "Every vendor that comes into our office just says, ‘Cloud!' If they sell you a flashlight, it's a cloud flashlight."

The danger in this is that by bastardizing the definition of cloud, it will take more time to fully tap into all of cloud's glorious potential. As JPMorgan Chase CTO Peter Ahrens put it, "Cloud is an over-hyped term—I know that it drives everybody in this room crazy to hear it—but it's a shame actually because the marketing always comes in advance of the capabilities."

What surprised me most at Monday's conference was how much talk of cloud there was. In addition to two panels solely devoted to cloud technologies, Perretta's keynote address was all about cloud, and cloud was continuously brought up during the CTO roundtable discussion.

So here's a news flash based off that information: Cloud is fully a reality on Wall Street. Shocking stuff, I know.

The years ahead will now be devoted not to whether cloud is appropriate for investment firms but rather what new areas cloud will seep into.

But one thing I would like to see is more clarity around what is and isn't cloud. It's far more difficult to advance something if you don't even have a proper definition.


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