About the Cloud

Here are a couple of articles talking about the cloud. As I suspected it’s more about storage and the feeding of mobile devices than about heavy duty computing. Large business seems to use a hybrid strategy, cloud for talking to the public and in-house for corporate stuff that needs to be better protected and possibly faster than the cloud.

That can change in time. I’ve seen the industry migrate from centralized processing to client-server architecture, from centralized input to distributed, distributed from dumb terminals to smart PCs. IP is a fast moving and highly changeable technology.

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Cloud But Were Afraid to Ask
By Rebecca Borison


Can Amazon Continue to Dominate the Cloud Industry It Created?
By Rebecca Borison


Denny Schlesinger


As I suspected it’s more about storage and the feeding of mobile devices than about heavy duty computing.

It really isn’t. If it were just about throwing a bunch of hard drives on the web, we could have done that 15 years ago. It’s sold as storage because it’s simple for the public understand the idea of a hard drive on the web.

I think Rebecca–the author of those articles–maybe hasn’t thought about it much. Heck, Amazon’s website is a cloud application. Does she really think Amazon.com is just a bunch of data on big hard drive? (By the same token, I suppose she’s also selling to the same public, so maybe she knows her audience, and thinks they can’t understand anything more complex than a big hard drive in the sky.)

I swear, the first time I stared mucking around with AWS, I got giddy, which has only happened to me a few times from seeing new technology. It really wasn’t because I could suddenly store my MP3s on a remote hard drive and play them on my phone.

The thing that shocked me is that I could write an application like YouTube, facebook, Google search engine, or Amazon, and have a fighting chance of scaling it to the number of users those guys have today. Or, said another way, I could write a parallelizable program that would take ten thousand hours to run on my machine, and have it finish in half a day. I could write the equivalent of AlphaGo or Watson.

Things you dream about creating but are infeasible because you aren’t the king of a large company suddenly become feasible. And I suspect I only see, like, 5% of its actual potential…



I like to think of it as an off-premises way to store and facilitate the storage and retrieval of information.

I find this very misleading.

What cloud computing really is is a computing service equivalent of a car rental. The economic motivation to go into cloud is very similar to the motivation to use car rental services.

Almost every company is not going to buy and maintain all cars it’s ever going to need. It will have some, but it will rent cars to cover the spikes or the special features. Sometimes it will make economic sense to use mostly just the rental ones.

Similarly a company does not need to buy and maintain all the computational and infrastructure power it’s ever going to need. And of course it’s not just about storage. It can cover you bandwidth peaks when you launch a new game and hundreds of thousands of users are all going to start it at the same instant, it can cover your computational power peaks when you are building your software automatically once a week etc.

“Having an off-site storage” conjures up an image of just having a container in a remote warehouse. The real power of cloud though is that it will scale to your needs automatically.


more complex than a big hard drive in the sky.

like that phraseology

What cloud computing really is is a computing service equivalent of a car rental.

I use a shared web server provided by a hosting service that tends to all the management and backup issues. In addition to the server they have on site and offsite backups and an offsite emergency server as well. To me the server looks like another hard drive managed by an ftp client. Even better than renting a car and it’s not “cloud.” It’s just a web server.

What differentiates AWS from a LAMP server is just the API. The way the web is going all the PCs and laptops will soon look like overgrown smartphones. :frowning:

Denny Schlesinger

What differentiates AWS from a LAMP server is just the API.

Not quite. While I agree that a LAMP server has some of the qualities, the cloud can offer much more. For instance, I can spawn 100 000 virtual machines with unique IP adresses in the Amazon cloud to test our new distributed application. Then there’s the other way around - I can have a single file system span a lot of physical machines with HADOOP, adding more physical machines as I run into capacity problems. There is also the hybrid cloud where for instance you can host your service locally, extending into the cloud only in peak demand for additional infrastructural resources.

None of these can be handled by a LAMP system. There is more, but I think it’s OT in an investment board.

I think there is a lot of potential that is still not being used by the existing companies. They are still learning to get a handle on what is possible and what makes sense from a business point of view. The first step though is to stop thinking about the cloud as a server sitting somwhere off site and start considering the business cases.