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Re: Please let's not talk about "clouds"

On 2013-04-26 16:24, Richard Stallman wrote:
Yes, Cloud IaaS is different from just "remote virtual computer rental". For example, typically, you'd have a service to store virtual machine images that you have customized, in order to start them as you need (for example, if you have a peak of usage). On an IaaS cloud, you'd have a rich API to be able to create LANs, assign public IPs to some virtual
    machines, mount some permanent block storage, etc.

It sounds like what you're talking about is rental of a remote virtual
computer with certain specific features that are useful for offering
Internet services to the public.

If you think that is mistaken, could you tell me what the error is?

Indeed, I believe you are mistaken.

Last week at the OpenStack Summit in Portland, the United States National Security Agency (NSA) talked about the fact that they have a very successful on-premise OpenStack "cloud" for the use of their own use at their own facilities only. No public sites are offered. The point is not "for offering Internet services to the public". The point is self service computing resource allocation, including control over network topology, storage configuration, and security. These are things one might call "infrastructure", hence the term "Infrastructure as a Service".

If the term "cloud" were used in computing solely for this, it would
cause no harm, and I would use it.  However, millions of people think
that "the cloud" means services that store files for users (i.e.,
suckers) prepared to surrender all privacy on their files.  There are
other completely unrelated scenarios that are also commonly referred
to with the term "cloud".

I happen to agree with you that the term cloud is far too ambiguous and hopelessly overloaded. IaaS is a much more useful term. I bid you good luck in your efforts to get people to stop using the wrong words.

For those of us heavily involved in the industry (I work for HP Cloud Services, Thomas works for a company closely involved with OpenStack), we only are ever talking about IaaS. So "cloud" is shorthand, and like any shorthand, taken out of context it is horribly confusing. I think it is worth making sure that any entry level documentation of all kinds are free from shorthand. Likewise, packages which include IaaS implementations such as Eucalyptus and OpenStack should clearly state that (which, on cursory examination, they all do).

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