Writing the History of 2016

(1) The year of the semantic backlash.

In 2016, I’m fully expecting a cloud computing backlash, if it’s not already under way. The backlash really isn’t about architecture but about language. Any day now, the trend-setters will shift the terminology around — again. At the end of the day, off-premises computing will be combined with on-premises computing, based on different strategies and different types of companies – and they’ll keep doing that indefinitely. Whether it’s called “cloud computing” or not is irrelevant. The words change, and the technology for off-premises will continue to mature, then be re-infused back into on-premises. It’s a bit like the space program, where NASA went to the moon and everyone got Tang; the spinoffs, in other words, are real.

So new terminology will surface some time next year. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was crowing about the “client/server revolution.” From PCs to mainframes, and then PCs behaving like mainframes. Followed by “thin client,” which was just an earlier iteration of today’s BYOD. The cycle repeats itself – it’s a bit more nuanced this time, perhaps, but it’s still the same idea. And hype aside, it feels very much like an evolution, not a revolution.

(2) In 2016, this much will become clear: Seattle isn’t Cloud HQ.

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