Clouds…They’re Everywhere! Introducing “The Washies” Award.

October 20, 2011 Appirio

By Narinder Singh

At the annual Gartner Symposium event, which draws hundreds of vendors across a variety of technology segments, it was hard to ignore the attention on cloud computing. Equally hard to ignore was the rampant cloudwashing happening here among traditional vendors and even some new providers.

Pick your cloud – public, private, personal, hybrid, pure cloud, part cloud. They’re all here. From the show floor to the sessions, cloud has been used as everything from a noun (the cloud), an adjective (cloud hosting), an adverb (cloudily) – and as a way to inspire, impress, sell or scare. It’d be impressive if it weren’t so confusing. It’s no wonder IT professionals have so many questions, and why there are so many vehement arguments about the value of multitenancy.

That’s why we’re introducing “The Washies” — an annual award given to the vendor who is the worst offender of painting over traditional IT technology with the word cloud, even though it offers little-to-none of the benefits that cloud computing brings.

The idea was inspired (by someone who will refuse to take credit) almost a year ago after we published our initial blog on cloudwashing. We held out on the award idea hoping that the act of cloudwashing would peter out after a while, but after what we saw this week and hearing the recent announcements from the likes of Oracle, it’s clear that now is the time.

There are many vendors out there who have genuine cloud solutions that should be proud to use the word cloud to describe their offerings. These are the providers whose solutions help enterprises scale up and down easily, leverage shared resources to reduce complexity and innovate faster, and eliminate the need to manage commoditized infrastructure so teams can focus on new opportunities and trends. And some vendors shouldn’t.

Just as the Razzies call out Hollywood’s duds, this award isn’t meant to be mean spirited. It’s a way to poke a little fun, and call some attention to this questionable marketing tactic that creates confusion and missed expectations.

We’ll be posting a voting form on our website in the next few weeks to get your vote, but first, we’d love to hear from you on the contenders. Who would you nominate? What prize should they receive in recognition of their efforts?

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