Cloudbook uses social media to gather best practices

If you haven’t heard of Cloudbook.net, you might want to check it out.

It’s a place to learn more about what’s going on with cloud computing at a variety of levels.

Vince Vasquez is one of Cloudbook’s founders and sat down with Fed Cloud Blog to talk about what his site does, exactly, and why he started it.

FCB: Tell us a little about Cloudbook for those who might not be familiar with it.

Vince Vasquez: One level is the community site, where leaders in the area of cloud computing can share their knowledge with the broader community.

We have a second level and, from a marketing perspective, Cloudbook is a marketing platform to promote content through social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

Timothy Chou and I started Cloudbook because we saw there were two needs that we felt needed to be addressed.

One — there was so much confusion around — what is cloud computing? There are so many definitions, such as public and private clouds and infrastructure platforms, software-as-a-service and the like, we thought it would be helpful for the industries moving into cloud computing if there was a single place where leaders could share their insights and knowledge with others.

Secondly, I had done a lot of marketing campaigns . . . [with] many of what I would call traditional elements of a marketing campaign, such as email, webinars and telemarketing. [They] just weren’t as effective and certainly not as cost effective. . . . I saw the rise of social media and the natural question that many of us have been asking came up, which is — how can I leverage social media as part of my marketing campaign?

So, we created Cloudbook.

FCB: What do you think cloud computing is and how are you working to try and get everybody together on the definition?

VV: That’s definitely a widely debated question.

At Cloudbook, we have a simple, six-level taxonomy that we’re applying right now to categorize over 1,000 cloud computing products that we have identified.

The taxonomy starts at the lowest level with what we call network cloud services. After all, you can’t have cloud computing if people can’t connect to it. So, “network” includes access networks and content delivery networks from companies such as AT&T.

The next level includes the data centers, which we simply call “co-location cloud services” [because] the cloud infrastructure has to run somewhere. This would include offers from companies like Push Communications and the like.

The next level includes the actual computers and storage cloud services. After all, an application in the cloud has to run on computers. This is where you have companies like Amazon [and] is one of the areas that gets the most attention in cloud computing.

The next level is what we call “platform cloud services”, [which] is one of the newest and hottest areas. It’s at this level where a lot of the software exists that makes cloud computing work.

At the next level are the actual application cloud services. These are the services that the consumer actually uses. We often call them software-as-a-service. SalesForce.com is one of the best-known companies here.

Finally . . . [we have] the supporting cloud players, such as system integrators, consultants and analysts. These are the companies and people that assist other companies in creating their cloud offerings.

FCB: That’s an incredible amount of information. How did you go about getting all of these different contributions from different people?

VV: We launched Cloudbook at the end of Aprill [2009].

We have over 5,400 people following us on Twitter, and what we did was, if people followed us and we saw them and followed them we would pick up cloud products — and we just kept organizing our own database, which has grown to over 1,000 products — and it keeps growing.

FCB: Have you found that social networking has helped you in terms of getting people together and coming up with that common definition?

VV: It does and it doesn’t.

It helps because social media is really about a conversation — about one person talking to another.

So, in that sense, you know who’s opinion is what.

Now, there are many opinions out there, so [with] social media, you can see many people talk about their different ideas.

What we do with Cloudbook is we try to just aggregate all of that content into one place.

Then we tweet about it and share with the community.

We don’t try to bleed what content is correct or incorrect. We simply try to give a place for people to share and social media is a great place for people to give attention to that content.

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