Some opinions on Cloud Computing

by Alistair

Collected from articles I’ve been reading on the topic over the last couple of days, and dumped here for nobody in particular other than for my reference…

Security guru Bruce Schneier:

[http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jun/04/bruce-schneier-cloud-computing]

“But, hype aside, cloud computing is nothing new. It’s the modern version of the timesharing model from the 1960s, which was eventually killed by the rise of the personal computer. It’s what Hotmail and Gmail have been doing all these years, and it’s social networking sites, remote backup companies, and remote email filtering companies such as MessageLabs. Any IT outsourcing – network infrastructure, security monitoring, remote hosting – is a form of cloud computing.”

“The old timesharing model arose because computers were expensive and hard to maintain. Modern computers and networks are drastically cheaper, but they’re still hard to maintain. As networks have become faster, it is again easier to have someone else do the hard work. Computing has become more of a utility; users are more concerned with results than technical details, so the tech fades into the background.”

And a response:

[http://www.rationalsurvivability.com/blog/?p=952]

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison gives his forthright opinion:

[http://news.cnet.com/8301-13953_3-10052188-80.html]

“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?”

“We’ll make cloud computing announcements. I’m not going to fight this thing. But I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud.”

And even now he avoids the term, preferring “on demand” computing :-)

A pretty good synopsis:

[http://www.shootingatbubbles.com/index.php/2008/08/18/is-cloud-computing-just-a-new-flavour-of-kool-aid/]

“There doesn’t seem to be a week; or even a day, that goes by when we aren’t bedazzled by some new terminology. Sometimes the new buzzwords really refer to something new and cool in the technology field and other times it’s no different than slapping a fresh coat of paint on the same old technology. In recent months one of the newest buzzwords that has been slowly creeping into common terminology has to be cloud computing…”

Dumbing Down the Cloud, from Rands in Repose:

[http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2008/11/25/dumbing_down_the_cloud.html]

“Cloud computing is yet another name for services that have existed for a really long time. Here’s the 2008 IEEE Internet Computing quote regarding Cloud Computing:

“Cloud Computing is a paradigm in which information is permanently stored in servers on the Internet and cached temporarily on clients that include desktops, entertainment centers, table computers, notebooks, and wall computers, handhelds, sensors, monitors.”

Information stored on servers? Temporary caching? Holy fuck. You mean like those email servers and clients I’ve been running for 15 YEARS?

The innovation in cloud computing happened years ago. It happened when some bright engineer was trying, for the 185th time, to draw the Internet on a slide, and thought, It’s this big, huge, amorphous thing that lacks definition. It’s a… cloud.

That’s when the magic happened. That’s when the name mattered. When it was first used to eloquently and visually describe an idea that lacked mental definition.

Everything that has been happening since then is marketing and wishful thinking. It’s those marketing nerds getting paid too much money to rename ideas we’ve already had. Innovation doesn’t come when we give our ideas new names; it comes when the fundamental idea quietly evolves. Innovation often happens silently — not by what you say, but what you do.”

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