This map of Cloud County, Kansas, USA, is copi...
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Troy Angrignon published a post on this week, in which he shares his evolving map of the Cloud ecosystem;

“When I was invited to co-chair the upcoming Under the Radar conference, my team and I were tasked with trying to understand the entire cloud ecosystem so we could distill it down into one day at the event. How does everyone fit into the stack? Where’s the overlap? I wanted to help cut through the noise and bring some clarity to the cloud.”

The result is a grid with companies along one axis and areas of activity along another, making it relatively straightforward to discover who provides a ‘Thick Client/ browser’ (Microsoft, Apple, IBM and CherryPal, apparently) or in which areas Cloudera are active (just ‘Large Data Set Analytics,’ it says). There are some omissions (don’t Google do a browser?), but Troy acknowledges this and is keen to crowd-source a more complete picture. Personally, I would also welcome a different version of the grid that I could re-order in ways that meet my own requirements (alphabetical order would often be nice, for example).

Perhaps a bigger problem, and one that’s beyond Troy’s control, is the current lack of consensus around the way in which we describe different offerings in the Cloud. Are the ‘Cloud monitoring’ services of Sun and Hperic comparable? What about the ‘Identity management’ solutions from Microsoft, Symplified, Usable Login and Verisign?

The need for basic agreement on the ways in which we describe and consider the Cloud become more pressing as calls for portability and interoperabilty grow, and as we increasingly find ourselves describing parts of the whole to Enterprise audiences that don’t wish to be confused by becoming mired in our own apparent inability to stop count angels on the head of a pin and simply agree some basics.

Issues of taxonomy aside, I certainly welcome having a single resource with which I can quickly obtain an overview of activity in a particular facet of the Cloud, and hope that the stakeholders will do their own small part to make sure that their own entries are present, correct, and current. Links out to the companies and products would also help here.

As well as the grid itself, Troy provides links to a number of earlier attempts to map the Cloud. Of these I particularly liked Jean-Lou Dupont‘s Mind Map and Peter Laird’s Cloud Map, but in all cases would have welcomed easier access to the raw data as well as the visualisation, so that I could sort and repurpose it as required.

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