Small point regarding Cloud

I am not an expert on The Cloud and companies that sell it so I have hesitated to comment on this, but there seems to be considerable confusion over what we mean when we refer to The Cloud. (Or maybe it is just imprecise wording I am objecting to, I’m not sure.)

For a typical example about Amazon Web Services, I saw the description “a really dominant position in cloud storage”. Storage is just the most basic aspect of cloud computing. Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud are all great, but storage is just the most visible part of the part of the cloud, the one part we might know we are commonly dealing with. Cloud computing is far more. Amazon has a pretty good four minute video that might help shake us loose a bit from the cloud = storage idea, and all the limitations that view implies. You can find it here:

Storage is important, but computing power is where AWS and competitors will attract customers with big needs and budgets, and choosing the vendor is probably based on how well they can make the individual corporate raised-floor computer room obsolete. The money that goes into those rooms is enormous, and in the future most of it should instead be flowing through AWS and its competitors.


“Cloud” is just a fancy marketing name for web hosting which does two things: store and serve data.

Denny Schlesinger

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Hosting one’s enterprise software is a bit more than “store and serve data”.

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Cloud is indeed more than store and serve data, and like server based or PC based software, there are large differences depending on your cloud vendor and the programs made to store and serve data. As an example, my use of Cloud, which is extensive, and goes all beyond Dropbox (that is just a paradigm changer), and Gmail and what not, which are all cloud based, goes to database management and all that go with the power and analysis of databases, integrated with email, accounting, etc.

The cloud can do anything the server use to do. The challenge is streamlining the processes as the server has more flexibility and connectivity than the local server does, but within those constraints (kind like how iOS has limits that OS X and Windows do not have) you can build solutions that are often superior to the more complex server based solutions, or where not superior, at least give you all the important functions with the advantages of the cloud making up for the loss of whatever secondary functionality you have to live without.

It is not for everyone, as people’s talents vary, but as for me, as an example, I can easily do the work of 3-5 people, and do it better, than I could before joining the cloud. Most people could not do this as the human element is still required to make it all work, but regardless, any competent employee would see a productivity increase as well, if not quite as much as the extraordinary one’s might.

It becomes a managerial challenge, as the talent of the employee makes a very large difference as to how productive he or she can be on my cloud applications. Probably because we are still learning as we go and innovating all the time. Despite this, it still takes computer smarts to be great at it.



does two things: store and serve data

What do you mean under “serve data”? To me, any kind of operation that involves input, transformation, and output is “serving data”. Surely you didn’t mean to be that general.

To me “serve” data seems like a reference to the disdain which the IT world has for simple CRUD (create, read, update, delete) operations in which data flows to or from the user without significant processing. Of course, there is a lot of any enterprise application which is nothing more than CRUD since one has to get the data in and many functions are fulfilled by simply seeing what data is there. But, any meaningful enterprise application also involves substantial, often extremely complex processing of that data.

Methinks storming over “small points” may cloud our judgment.


Surely you didn’t mean to be that general.

Yes, that was precisely my point. For reference, I’ve been in IT since before it was called IT. I started out as a programmer with the IBM Service Bureau in February 1960 when it was called “data processing.” I’ve written code in over a dozen computer languages*. In that time I have seen an innumerable number of variation on the theme from unit record (cards), tapes, disks, multiprocessing, multitasking, remote (dumb) terminals, computer utilities, client-server architecture, shared servers, virtual servers, colocation, distributed processing, load balancing, and probably others.

The basics have not changed in 60 years, same von Neumann architecture, and same (but increasingly complex)

process, and

When Amazon started what is now being called “cloud computing” they called it Amazon Web Services because that is exactly what it is “web services.” Someone decided to give it a fancy marketing moniker because the stuff was no longer in your data center or on your desktop but at undisclosed locations and it really didn’t matter where the servers were in data centers or servers farms or on your desktop. As a matter of fact web pages are often the creation of data from multiple servers anywhere in the world.

One thing I found out very early, IT people like to make the stuff sound mysterious, complex and only understandable to the IT priesthood. It’s nothing but a job security gimmick! The original Mac was killed off by IT people who feared for their jobs from an easy to understand machine. They absolutely loved the job security of Windoze. Now they want job security by making the cloud complicated. It is complex, no doubt, but it is still just store and serve data.

I doubt Saul is enjoying this thread so I’ll stop here. :wink:

Denny Schlesinger

  • I even programmed machines with plugboards (I’m almost ancient!)


Referring to “the cloud” as anything on the internet is very different from the definition of “cloud computing”. Cloud computing has some very specific characteristics. The characteristics are:

  • on demand and self service
  • shared pool of configurable computing resources.
  • resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released
  • with minimal management or service provider effort.
  • measured service

The benefits to using cloud computing are:

  • cost savings by only being charged for what you use, and to re-purpose unused capacity.
  • Elasticity to support unpredictable access patterns.
  • Agility, rapid prototyping.

Think of all the above from a business prospective, not an end user like you or me.

Denny is wrong. Referring to input, storing data, and output being the same, well, yes, it is the same. But we are talking about a computing models, (cloud computing). Not what computers do, (calculate or manipulate data).

Client-server model is different than main frame model.
Virtualization is different than bare-metal server model.
And cloud computing is different also.



The basics have not changed in 60 years, same von Neumann architecture…

You are looking at it the wrong way. It’s a paradigm shift in the usage of technology. Just like all the one before it does not come with a revolutionary invention, just some gradual advancements, but it does come with a revoloution in the user base.

Ford didn’t invent the car nor mass production. Gates didn’t invent the microcomputer, Jobs didn’t invent the smart phone nor the touch interface.

They all just made the product more attractive and more available to a huge new user base.

This is what cloud is. A wide array of online services that are cheap and readily available for use. Even though they were not “invented”, these services did not exist in this form 10 years ago. For instance, nobody gave you an API call that spawns a virtual machine on the web without a top limit. You want to spawn a milion machines? Go ahead, AWS can take that! It used to be that if you needed to do an extremely complicated calculation (for research for instance) you had to book an extremely expensive timeslot on a mainframe. Now, AWS will do that for you for 1/10 of the price! And so on - there are a lot of use cases.

You need to take your techie hat down and put your business hat on!


Cloud is too broadly used as a marketing term these days, so it is not surprising that there are various interpretations of it. In the simplest of terms, it’s storing and serving data, but anyone who has had significant exposure to technology and IT knows there is much more to it.

What is really game changing from a business standpoint today, is that Cloud makes it possible to run a large and complex business without making huge investments in IT infrastructure. There was a time when any large business needed to invest in data centers, an old term for technology infrastructure, and hire expensive talent to run their IT, but that is no longer the case.

The big paradigm shift is that Cloud enables businesses to literally run their technical operations 100% on 3rd party infrastructure, with highly skilled expertise, and pay for it as an operational expense, rather than a capital investment that has to be depreciated over time. It has also made it possible to get up and running with modern, state of the art business solutions in a matter of days/weeks, rather than months/years. It is virtually becoming a commodity, like having running water or electricity.

Exiting things are happening as Clouds of different stripes integrate and collaborate, and a whole new era of enterprises are rapidly emerging that were not even possible just 5 years ago. Very exciting.

Invest wisely my friends


What is really game changing from a business standpoint today, is that Cloud makes it possible to run a large and complex business without making huge investments in IT infrastructure. There was a time when any large business needed to invest in data centers, an old term for technology infrastructure, and hire expensive talent to run their IT, but that is no longer the case.

Cloud Computing is the reinvention of a 50 year old idea, the Computer Utility. Back then the idea was to use a huge computer in some central location that could be accessed by a private telephone line. This would be the equivalent of water or electric utilities, computing power from a tap in the wall, hence the name, Computer Utility.

Wyly’s wealth comes from businesses that he founded and developed, or purchased and expanded

1963: Founded University Computing Company (UCC), which provided computer services to engineers, scientists, and researchers. He capitalized the company with his own $1,000 commitments from customers including Sun Oil Company, Texas Instruments and SMU, and $650,000 borrowed from the First National Bank in Dallas.[4] The company went public in 1965.[2] In four years, UCC stock gained 100-1 over its IPO price. Lots of employees and early investors became millionaires. By 1969, it was one of only five companies headquartered in Texas with a market capitalization of $1 billion or more.[7] By 1968, sales were $60 million; in 1971, they were $125 million.[8]

The reason I’m familiar with UCC is that they wanted to establish a joint venture in Venezuela. Collin Wedge, their Caracas representative, contacted a number of Venezuelan economic groups but all the negotiations failed because in every case both sides wanted 51% for control. One of these Venezuelan groups called my management consulting firm to set up a local Computer Utility. My first proposal was that they should make a deal with UCC who had the technology. This was rejected because both sides wanted 51%. My second proposal was a real business plan which was also rejected because we wanted to have control over the technical budget to insure that the business would not fail for lack of resources.

1963 to 2016 = 53 years! Computer utilities were half a century ahead of their time.

Denny Schlesinger


“What is really game changing from a business standpoint today, is that Cloud makes it possible to run a large and complex business without making huge investments in IT infrastructure. There was a time when any large business needed to invest in data centers, an old term for technology infrastructure, and hire expensive talent to run their IT, but that is no longer the case.”
So true. I did work for a large company in the telecom industry,kind of. I built their facilities and offices. I spent a lot of time and made a lot of money responding to the panicky calls from the various offices and facilities about not having enough infrastructure i.e. Power, HVAC, cat 2 , etc.
A typical call from IT, "it’s 100 degrees in the server room and they are going down if you don’t do something. Me, yea but your on the 5th floor of a 10 story office building. Them, I don’t care what it takes just get it done your ass is on the line. Cha Ching.
Glade AWS didn’t exist then.