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Salesforce.com chief scientist on how and why the cloud is here to stay

“The best way I can respond to that question [about whether cloud computing is for real] is, ‘Do my children know any different?'” said Salesforce.com Chief Scientist JP Rangaswami during a morning session at our Structure: Europe conference on Wednesday. The answer, by the way, is that they don’t: “My children appear to have no interest in hugging physical things in order to make them feel good.”

Viewing the adoption of cloud services outside his family though, Rangaswami noted the similar situation in the at large. We as a society rely so heavily on services delivered via the internet, often without thinking about it, that “we recognize the cloud today more by its absence.”

This is important stuff, even beyond what it means for the way companies do business. Health care, government inefficiency, climate change, water shortage — to solve these, we’re going to need open data, collaboration and everything the cloud enables. They are “a new paradigm of problems that are going to need a new paradigm of tools,” Rangaswami said. “The corporate equivalent is just a subset of what we face in life in general.”

That being said, Rangaswami noted that what happens within corporations does matter because they’re still engines of innovation and they hold a lot of valuable data. At the very least, companies such as Salesforce.com can try to encourage a change in corporate behavior that might bring about the real promise of technology movements such as big data. “Part of the ‘big’ is in the shareability — what gets shared,” he said, and it will be interesting to see how much companies are willing to share.

Check out the rest of our Structure Europe 2012 live coverage here, and a video recording of the session follows below.

11 Responses to “Salesforce.com chief scientist on how and why the cloud is here to stay”

  1. Cloud is just a buzz-word for something that has been there all along. From centralized computing (mainframes etc…) over local area network storage (client-server computing) to internet storage.
    There’s only one thing important in working with/in a/the Cloud : security. All the rest is marketing. Not technology.
    And being there for quite some time now, I guess we’ll see a shift back to decentralised computing/storage sooner or later, as we’re bound to ride the ever-present technology cycle.

  2. the reason cloud isnt trusted is because of the lock in factor (just like o/s based handcuffs of the past) …if we / I cant easily move data or transition from app to app from cloud 5 to cloud 9…. corporates have more to lose in terms of market trust, regulated privacy and competition if they are not control of their information…cloud does not provide a compelling argument to dispel the risks…added to which patriot act tells us there can be no trust… sm (canada)

    • No. Its different. Cloud computing can be centralized or decentralized. When its decentralized with federations of clouds, its certainly not centralized. And also, “hosting” is not cloud computing either. Just taking the complexity of an application and putting the mess on another data center is “hosting”. One of the memes in cloud computing is reducing complexity.