Can you promise to keep a secret? If you can’t, click away now.

Fine, since you promised, I’m going to let you in on an industry secret:

There is no cloud.

No seriously, there is no cloud. That thing everyone refers to as “the cloud”?  That place where all of your data goes? It doesn’t really exist. They even made a movie which featured “the cloud” where the main character said, “Nobody understand the cloud! It’s a mystery!” Well, there’s a good reason for that.

Back around 2002 after the Dot Com Bubble burst people selling Internet services fell into a malaise. The shine had worn off of the Internet and the World Wide Web. They needed something new with sizzle that would sell. But new technologies that customers could relate to were nowhere to be found. They tried pitching “Web 2.0” but that was very soon taken for granted. Hardware was getting faster allowing  virtualization software to be written making it possible to split up a physical server into many virtual servers. New ways of managing data and servers were being discovered. DevOps became a thing. Back-end automation and data management was changing and improving.

But none of this was something we could sell to the customer.  Then around 2006 Google and Amazon figured out that they could package up all of the new back-end technology, put a web front-end on it and let you buy computing resources by the minute. Software As A Service (SAAS) had been around for a while (paid web applications) but now we could have Hardware As A Service (HAAS), Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS), and a whole bunch of other *AAS’s to which you could outsource your IT needs. And they called it “The Cloud”.

“The Cloud” was catchy, new, mysterious, and resonated with the public. Finally, the sales and marketing people had some sizzle to sell! Upload your data to “The Cloud”! Reduce costs by getting rid of your servers and replacing them with “The Cloud”! “The Cloud” will solve all of your IT problems! And the public loved it.

But the cloud had a dark side. It didn’t come with the people needed to administer that virtual machine or storage. It does not typically come with backups so if you fat finger a command your data could be gone. It didn’t come with security tools or people. Suddenly it was possible to murder a whole company in the cloud and leave no trace and there was nothing anyone could do about it. You would never know the names or see the faces of the people responsible for running the servers on which your data resides and your company’s existence depends. You could only hope they were trustworthy. You couldn’t practically deploy security tools like packet sniffers or ensure that the physical disks on which your sensitive data was kept were destroyed because in “The Cloud” data migrates automatically from disk to disk without your knowledge such that nobody bothers to track where it has really been. You don’t know who else is sharing the hardware and possibly slowing your service.

But by 2011 everyone was trying to figure out a way to call whatever it was they were selling “The Cloud” or at least a “cloud service” because “the cloud” was hot and it was getting investment money and customer attention. I am very familiar with one quite popular IT Service Management company which sells a web based application (glorified ticket system) used by very big companies which puts “The Cloud” on absolutely everything and even calls their internal teams “cloud engineering” and “cloud networking” etc. But they really sell you access to a web application running on a server. You can’t buy it by the hour, it isn’t in some sort of virtual machine or on some sort of virtual storage. It’s just a web app running on a server. We’ve had web apps running on servers since the 90’s. But they made a fortune selling the sizzle of “The Cloud”.

At Copilotco you will see us pitching “Cloud” services too. We pretty much have to in order to be relevant in today’s market where the customers have all been educated by marketing to demand “The Cloud”. So we will sell you Cloud Services. Server hosting, storage, with an API, etc. And it’s a very good cloud. We will put our cloud up against anyone’s in terms of reliability, performance, etc. and expect to compare quite favorably. But we will also sell you the people, the adminstrators, the security services, and you can even know the names and faces of the Copilotco people running your services if you want.

We can offer you Public Cloud where you can share the resources with other customers at an appropriate price. We can offer you Private Cloud where you get the automation and virtualization and everything that comes with it but on your own dedicated cloud hardware cluster. We can even provide you with a hybrid where your data is allocated to these various technologies as appropriate. Or we can give you straight up dedicated hardware on which to host your applications and data. Some people in some industries are practically required to have dedicated hardware. Others can get by with hosting in the Public Cloud as long as certain security controls are in place. Some can only afford public cloud as dedicated hardware tends cost more. We will work with you to help you decide which arrangement of services is most appropriate for your needs. We will help you take a sober look at the best technology for you free of hype.

So where does your data go when you send it to “The Cloud”?

There is no cloud: “The Cloud” is just someone else’s server.

If you are ever in San Diego let us know. We’ll be happy to show you “The Cloud”. It’s just a bunch of servers in a bunch of racks in a datacenter.

Want a free “There is no cloud” sticker? How about a couple? Email nocloud@copilotco.com with your mailing information and we’ll get them in the mail for you.