I have spoken to several of Sun’s customers over the last 3 months about Cloud Computing and have often used the following quote, to show the commonality in distributed computing architectures.
“When we build a distributed computing platform and run one application on it, we call this HPC, when we build a distributed computing platform and run many copies of one application on it, we call this Web 2.0, and when we build a distributed computing platform and run many applications on it, we call it Cloud Computing.”
Who said it? Me!
Its not quite true, but the difference between the platforms is not necessarily as great as some might like to make it seem. Web 2.0 platforms are rarely as economic as running many copies of one application but it’s a pretty small portfolio often supporting only one end-user application. I accept that elasticity and metering are important, unsolved, or not well solved problems in the cloud world but I think the quote is worth publishing here and repeating and offers insights into planning an evolving the next generation of IT platforms.