Sep 18, 2008

viewing the cloud through different lenses

Warning: half-baked stuff ahead.

In this morning’s news reader I found two interesting “cloud computing” posts; onefrom from Alfred Spector at Google and one from Werner Vogels at Amazon. And even though it’s perfectly clear they were published with completely different intentions, the fact that they were published on the same day gives a lazy blogger like me the excuse to point out the differences. Especially since I think they point to the different lenses through which the two companies view the cloud…

Google’s post is about harnessing computer power in the cloud to solve more computationally difficult problems based on billions and billions of data points…

Computer systems will have greater opportunity to learn from the collective behavior of billions of humans. They will get smarter, gleaning relationships between objects, nuances, intentions, meanings, and other deep conceptual information. Today’s Google search uses an early form of this approach, but in the future many more systems will be able to benefit from it.

Amazon’s post (well, really Vogels’ post, since it’s on his personal blog) is about the tools they’re giving developers, in particular the new content delivery service. Here’s the relevant bit that stood out…

This is an important first step in expanding the cloud to give developers even more control over how their applications and their data are served by the cloud.

This isn’t to say that the folks behind Google’s App Engine aren’t thinking about developer services the way that Amazon is, or that Amazon’s cloud group isn’t thinking about how they can support the kind of uber-learning that Google is. I’m just watching how the two massive cloud providers are talking about how they see the cloud, because I think the language they use is indicative of the underlying strategy…