Bloggers who consistently provide clarity, useful information and opinions backed by knowledge can be hard to find in the cloud space. One who consistently delivers is Dave Linthicum. When he’s not writing for InfoWorld or blogging, he’s CTO of Blue Mountain Labs.

Last Friday, Dave recorded show #200 for his podcast. It’s a notable accomplishment, not just because he takes the time to prepare solid, vendor-neutral content, but because Dave reports that the podcasts have been downloaded nearly one million times.

I was honored to join Dave’s panel for the 200th podcast. We got out of the technical weeds and talked about the macro trends driving the cloud space. Here are just a few of the topics we discussed, and my perspective on each:

  1. What’s the biggest story in cloud since 2008? No question: it’s AWS’s continued growth and dominance. They’re still running away with the ball, at least at the infrastructure layer.

  2. What’s the killer app in cloud? Devops and app containerization have made investment in elastic cloud infrastructure a winning proposition. Application intelligence is now in the app container or app framework, so apps manage infrastructure proactively and can spin up a new VM if one goes down. The shift to intelligent apps is the killer app in cloud, because it’s enabled a Cambrian explosion of new, agile, revenue-generating apps for businesses.

  3. What’s the worst mistake in cloud over the past five years? The mistaken notion that cloud is about cost optimization has taken our industry down a blind alley. The visionaries realized immediately that cloud is an enabler for new revenue opportunities. Big data, mobile, machine-to-machine, gamification and social allow you to do things you could not do before. Cheap VMs are about leveling the playing field, not cutting the IT spend.

  4. Is cloudwashing still a problem? Yes, and that likely will remain the case until the market learns a central truth: When enterprise vendors slap new branding on their expensive infrastructure and call it cloud, it’s really nothing more than overpriced VMs on demand. See #3 above.

  5. What’s the biggest trend in cloud going forward? Open source has gone from being verboten in the enterprise to become the preferred course. It amazes me how the enterprise now sees open source as the default position for building computing systems.

  6. Is it all over, or is there a challenger to AWS? The game’s not over. Private cloud is still a huge opportunity, even though public cloud is probably the long-term winner. Players like Rackspace and Microsoft are doing interesting things right now, and others are not far behind. We’re still in the first quarter of this ballgame.

Congratulations to Dave, and best wishes for the next 200 episodes.