Cloud computing seems to often get used as a catch-all term for the big trends happening in IT.
This has the unfortunate effect of adding additional ambiguities to a topic that’s already laden with definitional overload. (For example, on a topic like security or compliance, it makes a lot of difference whether you’re talking about public clouds like Amazon’s, a private cloud within an enterprise, a social network, or some mashup of two or more of the above.)
However, I’m starting to see a certain consensus emerge about how best to think about the broad sense of cloud, which is to say IT’s overall trajectory. It doesn’t have a catchy name; when it’s labeled at all, it’s usually “Next Generation IT” or something equally innocuous. It views IT’s future as being shaped by three primary forces. While there are plenty of other trends and technology threads in flight, most of them fit pretty comfortably within this framework.