Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's the difference between "cloud" and "clod"? (Answer: "U")

As part of my daily research, I subscribe to LinkedIn's Cloud Hosting & Service Providers Forum, where I saw an interesting post yesterday.

It was about the now-defunct, though highly successful in the short run, Car Allowance Rebate System. Let's be honest: Cash for Clunkers was at best pure, New Deal "pump priming". It didn't create a lot of demand, it didn't take a lot of gas guzzlers off the road, it didn't save the planet, it didn't even save people a lot of money on a new car purchase, but it did burn through inventory and turn the most rock-ribbed, flag-waving, staunch-Republican car dealers into grateful supplicants of a Democratic administration (less than a year after the GOP nationalized the banks, but I digress, still shaking my head in utter incomprehension.)

But forget about Cash for Clunkers as public policy. What does it mean to IT? Turns out, it actually does mean something, but you had to be looking for it. Rich Bruklis, a Hewlett-Packard storage product manager out of Houston, was. Putting aside the HP-IBM rivalry, I thought he had an excellent point about the difficulty car dealers have had actually getting the Washington cash to go with the Detroit clunkers:

"Would Cloud Computing help prevent the frustration of auto dealers and their delayed claims from Uncle Sam? ... [url address] ... Tuesday morning, I predict the summary from the media will highlight the US Gov't's inability to keep the web site up and process the last minute claims."

Well, we'll find out together tomorrow whether Mr. Bruklis's prediction is correct. I'll take this as a gentleman's bet, though; as a former journalist, I have a sense the media will largely miss this story. Reporters can appreciate the coolness of a new iPhone but, like everyone else, they are scared to death of explaining anything as complex and un-sexy as e-commerce infrastructure. (Don't get this MBA started at how fast they run away from a story that involves dollar signs and math.)

But what I got a huge chuckle out of was that, in the middle of Mr. Bruklis's post, was a link to a story in Cloud Computing Journal: http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/1079385. Imagine my surprise when I clicked that link and went straight to a 404 screen. Tried again, and I got the site's frame but no text. One more time, and I finally got through to the article, which Mr. Bruklis wrote.

Despite the irony of an article lambasting the Transportation Department for IT bumbling being hosted on a site that's takes more time to load than a freight train, the piece is really worth the read.

Have a better day,



  1. Looks like I win. Aside from the AP story Mr. Bruklis cites in his article, the popular press completely missed Cash for Clunkers' IT snafu.

    Of course, it's a once-in-a-decade news day whenever a Kennedy dies of old age. But you can't blame the undercoverage of Washington's flat-footed technical response on the Lion of the Senate's passing. I'm a New York Times subscriber, and no paper in the country has been a bigger friend to Teddy. But he died after the early edition's deadline, so his obituary didn't appear on my doorstep this morning.

    Nor did any mention of cloud computing.

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