Any clouds in your sky?
Hype aside, is there anything in this cloud computing lark?
When the BBC features a cloud computing piece on its news bulletin (28 October), you know the hype is beginning to bite. But does the idea have substance or was Microsoft's Azure announcement just a handy lead-in to the weather on a slow news day?
The broadcasters made it sound so easy. Containers full of servers and all the other bits and bobs bolted together quickly in cool locations with a ready supply of electricity and whacking great internet connections. Then, instead of having to run applications on your own machines, kind-hearted suppliers can say "let us run them for you." In exchange of course, for a continuous revenue stream instead of periodic revenue bursts in exchange for ever larger bloatware.
Sounds easy doesn't it? But somehow, you have to get from where you are to where you want to be. You can't just say to a provider, "oi, move this lot to the cloud for me." You probably need to get your own house in order first. Some applications and data shouldn't even leave your premises. Well, not without a monumental degree of trust and a very close working relationship with your cloud service provider.
It's probably better to move out the less sensitive stuff first, especially if it has erratic peaks and troughs of demand. In fact, you probably do this already, to a certain extent. Email security perhaps. Or SalesForce.com. What about those new-fangled social computing services. Or perhaps you've got servers being hosted on your behalf.
Cloud computing services come in several guises but broadly they provide you with an infrastructure, an application or a platform. Azure, the thing that started this piece off, is really an application platform. At the moment it is of most interest to developers. But it did give the news people an excuse to puff cloud computing in general.
But, what about your life? Do you have anything to do with cloud computing? Inside or outside work. As ever, we're trying to distinguish between hype and reality. A word or two from you would be very welcome. Just click on 'Post a comment'. Thank you.
Is it Cloud Computing if...
Could somebody tell me is it "cloud computing" if the data and apps are all stored on your own servers internally and are accessed across the private network?
Or is that just called using Thin Clients??
Cloud seems to imply it is stored somewhere that it can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection?
Whats the difference between cloud computing and settings up a few Thin Clients?
Those who buy the outsourcing story will go for clouds, too, for seamless exchange between themselves and their partners.
Pain? What pain?
Moving Personal Email
I need somewhere to put my domain's email, which is basically just me and for purely personal use. There's nothing critical - if my connection goes down (I rather doubt Google will ...) I can probably wait. I'm looking at Google Apps, which is quite exciting really. If it doesn't work, and I need my other services as well and can't compromise, I'll look into a Zen VM somewhere like the Spring Server(TM) dyndns.com now does.
I want "Cloud Computing" primarily because I think I have other things in life to do now besides worry about my aging Pentium-II Linux server. I don't want to be here when it breaks down. I'd sooner be without the anxiety which hurt the last time I had a couple of disk failures at bad times, and email is really quite important to me. It should still work whatever happens. Better to make it somebody else's problem as long as they get my money and I'm pleased, and I'll start worrying again when I'm employed or can take or want to take it back on again. And in the meantime I can do the moving ISP/house thing or whatever.
PS: If you pay Google they guarantee you an SLA - it's £25/user/year (not counting aliases and mailing lists) (just a multi-destination alias, not a real Google group). There is a free offering. Start here: