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Is Cloud Computing A Lunch Break Creation?

Is Cloud Computing a Lunch Break Creation?

There have been allegations that “cloud computing” is just a marketing term, with the underlying principles and technologies having long existed. Personally speaking, while I do believe that a lot of cloud computing as it exists today did exist before Ramnath Chellappa used the term in a 1997 lecture (See: A History of Cloud Computing), there’s a lot that is different from earlier grid computing and utility computing paradigms (See: Cloud Computing vs Utility Computing vs Grid Computing: Sorting The Differences). Therefore, it may come as a surprise that a recent report cited the term as the brainchild of an Amazon employee with no technological basis whatsoever.

However, a closer inspection of the date of publication – April 1 – reveals the nature of the report (See: Cloud Computing Revealed as a Hoax). Long-time readers of this blog are no strangers to the April Fools’ Day article, having been subjected to one written by me last year Cloud Computing without the Internet – Is It Possible?).

In the article, Amazon junior marketing associate on the Kindle team Shawna Bogan is quoted as having coined the term during a lunch break. “We were all just sitting around in the break room, trying to figure out how to explain that all of Amazon’s Kindle titles were stored on a PC under my desk. I suddenly realized that, since no one would actually see my PC, the files could be anywhere – even up in the sky. People must think all this stuff is stored securely on massive servers somewhere. I think it’s time people knew the truth. I’m sure this is the same way all these new companies are doing it, too,” she is quoted as saying.

The report then goes on to say that different cloud computing companies have “to buying into the hoax and propagating it with their own offerings.” Some industry leaders, both fictional and real, are quoted. “We knew we could never afford to compete if we took the time and expense to actually construct real, massive data centers. And why bother when we could do it all with in-house hard drives? But we thought we were the only ones doing it that way. I’m not sure how I feel to learn that we hadn’t really found a loophole after all,” Beezil Shoshugani of RackSaaS is quoted as saying. Needless to say, both “RackSaaS” and “Beezil Shoshugani” are figments of the authors’ imaginations, although the allusion to Rackspace is evident.

Perhaps the most humorous comment is attributed to the very real and non-imaginary Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “I knew it! I knew it! The whole idea was stupid from the start! First they get me dancing around in YouTube videos like a giant sweating monkey, and now this,” he is quoted as saying. The YouTube reference is clearly related to this (See: Steve Ballmer going crazy). You should read the article in its entirety and see if you can come up with more cultural references.

Amidst all the seriousness in our lives, it’s nice to have the occasional touch of humor. At CloudTweaks, we aim to do just that with David Fletcher’s inimitable Lighter Side of the Cloud series).

By Sourya Biswas


Sourya Biswas is a former risk analyst who has worked with several financial organizations of international repute, besides being a freelance journalist with several articles published online. After 6 years of work, he has decided to pursue further studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he has completed his MBA. He holds a Bachelors in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Information Technology. He is also a member of high-IQ organizations Mensa and Triple Nine Society and has been a prolific writer to CloudTweaks over the years...

One Response to Is Cloud Computing A Lunch Break Creation?

  1. Yes, I get the humor, but there is an undeniable marketing connection with cloud computing. That’s not a bad thing. It gets organizations excited about IT again, whether about public, private, hybrid, converged cloud flavors, etc. Yes, the “cloud” term is amorphous, but that’s what makes it so compelling to tech pros and biz execs alike. Of course, the origins of the cloud term are hotly debated. According to the Wikipedia entry (, “The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to represent the telephone network, and later to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represents…,” while later adding, “… The underlying concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1960s, when John McCarthy opined that “computation may someday be organised as a public utility.”
    Also, just read a blog from Christian Verstraete, HP Chief Cloud Technologist referencing a 1982 slide from Joel Birnbaum (, then head of HP Labs. Verstraete notes “…I actually managed to find one of his slides, dated from the early-to-mind 90’s back on the Internet. He talked about computer appliances and computer utilities. Change the name to cloud and his timing is close.”
    But, origins may be less important. And keep the humor coming. Taking something too seriously is the mark of ESTABLISHED TECHNOLOGY. I’d argue that when the humor stops, so does innovation and x-factor thinking. –Paul Calento (


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