Beware of Cloud Washing!

cloud washing

I just stumble on a new cloud computing buzzword, and I thought that it would obviously be useful for me to share what I’ve learned here on Cloud Business Review – here’s the cloud marketing gimmick buzzword for you: Cloud washing.

What on earth is cloud washing?

Did you know whitewashing – the low-cost paint typically applied to form thin layer of paint to cover old or rusty-looking exterior surfaces, such as fences, so it looks like new? Cloud washing (or cloudwashing) is pretty similar to whitewashing – according to’s cloud washing definition:

Cloud washing (also spelled cloudwashing) is the purposeful and sometimes deceptive attempt by a vendor to rebrand an old product or service by associating the buzzword “cloud” with it.

In other words, cloud washing is what businesses do to capitalize the lucrative cloud market by slapping “cloud” word into their company names, products/services, and marketing messages – even though what they offer is actually not really cloud-based.

The Internet is, indeed, one big cloud, and some companies think that it’s justifiable to slap “cloud” word into their web-based products and services. Well, it’s not illegal, but it’s deceptive.

How to detect cloudwashed business

According to the same article and Seeking Alpha’s cloud washing article, a true cloud computing vendor should offers:

  • Web-based service and solution
  • The ability for users to self-provision
  • Virtualized infrastructure
  • Multi-tenant architecture
  • Linear Scalability
  • Operations done largely by automated policies.

In other words, not offering one of the above means that a “cloud” vendor is not really a true cloud vendor – even it shouldn’t label its products/services as “cloud.”

Here’s a slideshow that can help you determine whether you are being cloud washed by a private cloud vendor:

Probably the best way to see what cloudwashed business services look like is by looking into the examples, such as HP Cloud System and Oracle Public Cloud (those are 2 of 5 worst cloud washers of 2011)

Are you at a loss signing up with a cloud washer?

Not really, as long as you are signing up with a reputable company (HP and Oracle are reputable companies, indeed.) However, signing up with one means that you won’t have the capability to access the true potential of the cloud.

For example, true cloud solutions let you scale up or scale back in real time, allowing you to access the cloud services effectively and efficiently, on-demand in its truest sense. Cloudwashed solutions may offer you monthly subscription plan, but you might only be able to scale up or scale back at the end of the billing cycle.

You’ve been warned. Your next step would be doing your due diligence before you adopt the cloud – it’s better safe than sorry.

Image: TwinStrata

You might also like