I read the term "cloudwashing" today for the first time. Apparently the term refers to the latest trend to slap the word "cloud" in front of everything.
It’s true though, for the most part people do not understand what cloud computing means and sales and marketing folks are doing what they do and filling the understanding void with a bunch of doublespeak.
Risk and Insurance magazine does a spotty job discussing technology. Their stab at cloud computing is here and is full of inaccuracies. But this is fundamentally an insurance magazine so I would cut them some slack.
Oracle, however, is a technology company. So when they totally misuse the term, they get no slack.
The ZDNet article about Oracle has a link to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s definition of cloud computing. They have it right. They list five essential characteristics of cloud computing. If your "private cloud" doesn’t do these five things, your "private cloud" is a regular data center. Note the "rapid elasticity" point. That to me is the most important point.
On-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider.
Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs).
Resource pooling. The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines.
Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases automatically, to quickly scale out and rapidly released to quickly scale in. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be purchased in any quantity at any time.
Measured Service. Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.