Cloud Provider Appirio To Recognize 'Cloudwashers'

Cloud solution provider Appirio

Dubbed "the Washies," the awards will be "given to the worst offenders of painting over traditional IT technology with the word 'cloud,' even though it offers little-to-none of the benefits that cloud computing brings," Appirio wrote on its Web site for the Washies, through which it is also accepting nominations.

Narinder Singh, Appirio's chief strategy officer and co-founder, compared the Washies to the Razzies, the annual awards that recognize Hollywood duds and flops. Singh said the Washes are not designed to be a mean-spirited affair, but more a way to poke fun and call attention to what he called "questionable marketing tactics" that can create cloud confusion and unrealistic expectations in the market.

Singh said the Washies were born out of frustration over how everything is now considered cloud computing. While Appirio is an advocate of public clouds, he said the company is not trying to ram its cloud views down the industry's throat, but is instead trying to draw some clarity around what is cloud and what isn't.

"How do we draw attention to this?" he said, adding that the market is being misled by cloudwashing when vendors that previously spoke out against the cloud take the stage to pitch a cloud-in-box. "We think there's this element of everything is cloud for the wrong reasons. Some people are trying to push the future and some are trying to hold onto the past."

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While Singh wouldn't reveal any of the early nominees for Washies, he said a visit to a recent trade show highlighted the gross misuse of the cloud tag. He said both enterprise IT and consumer companies are guilty of cloudwashing and a stroll down the show floor uncovered everything from video conferencing and telephony equipment to load balancers claiming to be cloud solutions. Singh said at that event, nine out of 10 vendors on the expo floor claimed to be cloud.

"You'd think there was no solution in the world that wasn't cloud," he said.

The Washies will focus on what companies say and their advertisements and press pieces to determine who is guilty of cloud washing. He said the winners will be invited to attend a party next month, though he's uncertain how many will show up.

And he said the awarding of a Washie is in no way an indictment of a company. Much like the Razzies often honor a great actor or actress who made a bad movie, the Washies will honor otherwise solid companies that have overstated their cloud cred.

"The real goal is to get some clarity in the market," he said. "It'll be a fun celebration of the cloud."

Appirio is accepting nominations through November 28 and the most popular submissions will become the official nominees. Final voting will take place from December 1 through December 12 with the winners announced at the December 14 awards ceremony.