Does your OS matter in a cloud?

Putting your computing into a cloud can be like having Blackwater fight your wars. It's outsourcing with no in-house expertise to watch the watchers.

Mount Redoubt Eruption in Russia, from Wikimedia
Once applications move into cloud computing do arguments about operating systems, closed source or open source, really matter?

I thought of that while reading about the joint HP-Intel-Yahoo cloud study. (This cloud was caused by a volcano. Man-made clouds are far more sinister.)

My point may sound counter-intuitive. The funding of 10Gen tells Big Money Matt that clouds accelerate the open source trend, not just due to cost but because the only folks dealing with software innards in a cloud are experts.

Tim O'Reilly sees a threat to open source in cloud computing, and I agree, even though it makes all computing, essentially, enterprise computing, and gives both open-and-closed source the same SaaS business model.

Then there's the question of whether all this cloud stuff isn't just hype, another way of selling the failed ASP model from 10 years ago. The recent outage at Amazon, and the need seen by Hyperic to monitor clouds, tells us there is no magic here.

What's really the difference between cloud computing and conventional Web hosting? Scale? Or just hype? Isn't Salesforce.com just a cloud?

If there really is no difference, what we may be seeing is a move by all types of applications into an enterprise space. That would seem to offer open source a level playing field, which is all its advocates have really ever wanted.

But will we really get it? When technology is abstracted from what you're doing, who knows or cares what deals may be made behind the curtain?

Putting your computing into a cloud can be like having Blackwater fight your wars. It's outsourcing with no in-house expertise to watch the watchers.

You may notice I'm drawing no conclusions here. Cloud computing is a lot of hype, a lot of hope, and hard to really get your arms around.[poll id=87]

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