There has been significant discussion over the short life of the term "cloud computing" about how little it differs from concepts like managed hosting and ASPs. And there is some truth to these observations; if you really look closely, what are the key differences between EC2 and a more traditional managed hosting provider? Some would say multi-tenancy, self-service and pay-per-use (including billing and elastic capacity). With specific regard to EC2, I would tend to agree.
(I would also hasten to point out that Amazon provides some very PaaS-like services in conjunction with EC2, such as Simple Queuing Service (SQS) and SimpleDB.)
However, if this is the great "paradigm shift" of cloud computing, as offered by smart people like Krishnan Subramanian of CloudAve, then let me offer that these basic extensions to existing hosting models will be peanuts next to a shift that will create one of the most significant market opportunities since the explosive growth of the Internet itself. I'm not dealing in hyperbole here; I honestly believe that there is a clear evolutionary step to the cloud occurring well after stand-alone self-service clouds are mainstream (which they arguably are today) that will inspire massive innovation.
That game changing technology disruption will be the federation of disparate clouds, and the distribution of software, data and billing across commercial and private cloud boundaries. In other words, the introduction of secure, reliable workload mobility in an extension of the Internet itself--an "Intercloud", so to speak.… Read more