What's the benefit of the cloud?

Given that most people don’t know what the cloud is, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that most people can’t articulate the benefits of cloud computing clearly. I commonly hear “Scalability!” “Easy provisioning!” “Flexibility!” and so on. Of course, all of these are benefits you can get without the cloud. Theo says it pretty well, so I won’t belabor that point.

What do you think are the benefits of cloud computing?

In the end I can think of only one really unique benefit, and it’s indirect. It is this: the rise of cloud computing is creating a social phenomenon among engineers. The benefit isn’t the technology, or the economics, or any of that stuff. It’s the change in people’s mindset towards thinking at a higher level of abstraction. For example, thinking about resources instead of machines, and APIs instead of programs.

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I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and lots of open-source software for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB. More about me.