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Cloud Computing Is Far More Than Just Cutting Enterprise IT Costs

Cloud Computing is so much more than a computer in the Cloud

Over on VentureBeat, Anthony Ha had more;

Salesforce.com wants to become an even big player in the cloud computing market with a new service called Force.com Sites, which allows companies to host public-facing web applications in the Force.com platform. That means Salesforce — nominally a maker of customer relationship management (CRM) software, but also an increasingly important platform for business-related applications — is moving closer to direct competition with cloud giants like Amazon Web Services and the Google App Engine.”

Locked away within an organisation, and only accessed by that organisation’s applications, data cannot be put to full use. Much of the value in each individual datum lies in comparing it to other measurements, in delving into detail and in pulling right back to observe the bigger picture.

Organisations believing that either the big picture or the detail reside within their own systems alone are woefully misguided. Even the most specialised, the most proprietary, the most confidential of data only reveal their true value when placed in context, and that context is all the richer when informed by numerous perspectives.

Cloud Computing, and the various *aaS movements, have finally brought us to a place where the fiercely guarded and tightly delineated boundaries between the organisation and those outside it may become permeable in ways that should benefit the organisation rather than threaten it. Data is just a resource. In the terminology of Geoffrey Moore most data is often mere context, and there are savings to be made both in reusing the data of others or in re-selling necessary context to those prepared to pay. Some data, of course, is core to the business, and this may continue to receive the same reverence and protection that we misguidedly apply to the entire database today. Even here, though, the opportunities afforded by (controlled?) sharing may outweigh any desire to maintain data protectionism.

The language of Groundswell offers opportunities to go further, to embrace and to exploit the behaviours and the motivations of customers and the wider Web.

There is clearly far more to write in clarifying this view of both the components and the whole, but as it passes 2,000 words this particular blog post has perhaps gone on long enough.

For now, then, I should conclude by asking what role the Semantic Web has to play in any of this.

The Semantic Web, with its unadulterated recognition of the primacy of the web’s hyperlink? The Semantic Web, designed from the outset to convey context and relationships derived from data spread across the Web? The Semantic Web, supported by technologies that operate openly and at Web scale?

Isn’t it obvious yet?

Returning to the Web 2.0 Summit with which this post began, another presentation was from Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired Magazine. As I wrote this post, I referred to Steve Gillmor and Nicole Ferraro, from whose reports I inferred that Kelly had built upon an earlier presentation (that I greatly enjoyed), in which he argued;

“You have to be open to having your data shared… which is a much bigger step than just sharing your web pages or your computer.”

Fact-checking before hitting publish, I notice that last week’s video is now up, here, and Kevin’s championing of the primacy of data in the cloud resonates with every word I’ve just written.

Yep. Here we go, on a journey toward Kevin Kelly’s “World Wide Database.”

In subsequent posts I’ll explore some more of the detail, and I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.


More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

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