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Why cloud and not a person is the top newsmaker for 2010

There were several worthy candidates but a consumption model wins out as the top story for this year

When CDN launched the Top 25 Newsmakers issue for the first time back in 2001 it was a replacement for its annual year in review edition.

Remember what I just said: “A replacement.” CDN‘s Top 25 Newsmakers acts as a year in review. It’s just told through profiles instead of news stories or reflective-type features. As I always say, this is the issue I have the most fun with.

This year, as you can see from the cover, it’s different. There isn’t a person but instead, a concept or business model: cloud computing . A lot of executives characterize cloud computing as just another consumption model for technology.

So why is cloud the No. 1 newsmaker for 2010? Well it’s quite simple. Using our methodology for ranking the newsmakers, cloud came out on top. The only problem was that there wasn’t one person who could universally tell the cloud story. I thought for a brief second that Microsoft Canada (NASDAQ: MSFT ) president Eric Gales would be that person because of the company’s “all-in” direction with the cloud and the fact that Microsoft touches all aspects of the channel. But it wouldn’t be fair to Gales and every other vendor out there to single him out as the top cloud-committed executive in Canada.

The situation this year was similar to when virtualization was so hot. Grant Aitken, the president of VMWare Canada (NYSE: VMW ), was an excellent fit to tell the virtualization story since he ran the top virtualization vendor in Canada.

So I thought back to what other magazines did in this kind of situation. There was Time magazine’s iconic 1956 Man of the Year (now Person of the Year) as a Hungarian Freedom Fighter. It was a symbol of the Hungarian Revolution. Time also chose “You” as its Person of the Year in 2006 to symbolize the Internet Age.

This year, it was all about the cloud. I can’t think of one story we did; nor a briefing or press conference we took where cloud wasn’t mentioned or asked by the CDN team of reporters. I can’t think of another year where that occurred. The comparison has been made to virtualization, but even back then CDN wrote plenty of other stories that had nothing to do with virtualization.

Let me give you an example of how pervasive cloud was this year: every single distributor announced some sort of cloud strategy or program. Trust me on this, if the distributors are aware of it then it’s really big.

The future of cloud computing is still uncertain. Not everyone we interviewed believes that cloud services will be a slam-dunk winner. But one thing is for certain, there are plenty of customers who are asking about it and they’re doing it in all sectors from enterprise, government to SMBs. And, that’s why we’ve named the cloud as the No. 1 Newsmaker of the Year.

Follow Paolo Del Nibletto on Twitter: @PaoloCDN .