back to article Cloud computing hysteria paralyzed by bolt of reality

We've seen more than enough folks all atwitter and wetting their shorts over cloud computing at Interop 2008 Las Vegas. So it was a bit of a surprise to catch a panel at the show with Google and Amazon reps discussing what keeps businesses from embracing the technology. The four-man panel, moderated by BitCurrent analyst …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Let's face it

    Cloud computing, software as a service and all the rest are bollocks.

    Storage is cheap. Processing is cheap. Memory is cheap.

    But bandwidth is an expensive and limited resource, and the reality is that this is unlikely to change.

    So where exactly is the advantage of pushing data storage and processing load off to a remote host? It certainly doesn't seem to be in cost or performance. Or in the quality of the products.

    And that's before you trip over the whole data security thing. Or vulnerability to external problems. Or obsolescence.

    I can see why this is being pushed by those involved, but I just can't see much of a market ever existing

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Some interesting questions ...

    What is going to happen to all the major software companies?

    Are they going to merge into some kind of major consortium of application vendors that support these new 'cloud' networks?

    Being that there is going to be competition between Google and MIcrosoft who will hop into bed with the behemoths first?

    If they do, will they have loyalties that prohibit them from working with other 3rd parties?

    I know Microsoft has applications and so does Google now but who will get Adobe, Autodesk, MYOB etc?

    Me thinks I feel a bidding war about to begin, one of which the likes we have never seen.

    My predictions;

    Apple will side up with Google.

    Autodesk & MYOB will side up with Microsoft

    Adobe will either deal with both companies on their own terms

    or

    Go it on their own.

    and us the poor smucks who have practically no say in the matter will have to subscribe to more than one cloud to be able to use the services we need.

    I feel a storm brewing ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multics

    Cloud computing reminds me of the business model for Multics.

    Does anyone remember Multics?

  4. PaulD
    Alert

    who's going to be the first to fall??

    I can see it now, a version of the bank collapse cash grab translated into online "gotta get my emails and documents" off whatever web2.ho system goes tits up first...

    no thanks...

  5. tebiru

    Off the top of my head, a few advantages:

    1. Data can be accessed from anywhere, from a variety of devices.

    2. Software upgrades a far more painless procedure - almost invisible to the user

    3. Potential for processing power-intensive software to be accessed at very little cost vs buying the hardware yourself (particularly handy if your usage of said software is quite limited, or one-off)

    And I'm sure there's plenty I've missed, but those are pretty compelling reasons, I'd say.

  6. Kanhef
    Flame

    re: let's face it

    Agreed; it's a ridiculous idea. Any recent computer is more than powerful enough to handle an officeworker's needs. Synchronizing files with an online service is useful, but FFS don't do your word-processing on a remote system!

  7. Adam Azarchs

    Where cloud computing makes sense...

    in theory, anyway, is that if you have loads which are very inconsistent, then it makes sense to off-load to someone who, by law of large numbers, can always fully utilize their servers. There are also some small economies of scale in other areas. For small buisnesses there's a lot in those categories - not every shop which wants a web presense has room for a server rack, for example. But yeah, no one has yet come up with the "killer app" for cloud computing.

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Transparent Alien Systems for Self Regulation. Normal Rules do NOT Apply.

    "When asked what happens when government auditors come knocking to check the regulatory complicity of an application living in the cloud, nobody seemed to know the answer. The question was clearly moving into theoretical territory at this early stage of the technology."...

    That is simple to answer, as anyone who Virtually knows what the Cloud is Really all about. Government auditors don't come a'knocking .... for Government, which is just a Group/Gang/Cabal/Conspiracy of Souls and Myriad Control Identities who would Think that they can Control Life and Live the High Life for Free on the Strength of their Views Shared as Policies to be Followed, and for which they are Paid with Loadsamoney/Fat Cat Flash Cash, does not Exist in the Cloud and is replaced in ITs Virtualised Infrastructure Environment by CyberIntelAIgents Trading Intellectual Property on AI Shared Open Source XXXXChange .......... for a SMARTer, Much More Sophisticated, Mutually Beneficial [as in Progressively Rewardingly Benign*] Meritocratic Regimen. And never the Twain shall Meet for they are Incompatible.

    The Cloud and ITs CyberSpace Pioneers are Creating with Advanced IntelAIgents a Brave and Bold NeuReal Frontier World which will Place Off-Shore/Out of this World in an Untouchable SpacePlace, All Critical Infrastructure Controls used down on Earth, by Simple Virtue of their Invited and Accepted Acceptable Transfer by Present "Owners", who will always Retain All Rights and Privileges as Currently Enjoyed and Employed but who will also Benefit from the Safe Haven, Seventh Heaven Status which Astute Mentoring and Vigilant Monitoring of Virtual Privilege Permits and Promotes and Programs.

    It is Nothing Less than AI New World Order Program Run by CyberIntelAIgently Designed Entities/Virtual Reality Programmers .... who will Replace the Present Chaotic Reality with AI Beta Future Virtual Reality. And IT will do this by Simply Storing Superfluous Human Wealth/XXXXSSive Wealth of Sympathetic EMPathetic Proxy Controller Clients, in a Specially Constructed Earthly Account, of their Own Choosing if they so Wish, where it can remain, until such Times as it is required by its Owners elsewhere, Securely and Transparently Protected within the System/Really and Virtually Safe .... with the Banking System then Paying with their Interest in Virtual ProgramMIng, to AIdDedicated CyberIntelAIgent Change Account for the Virtual Holders living in ITs Space.

    Earthly Investors getting SurReal Fundamental Global Change, which they Influence with Input at Zero Cost/Zero Risk, with the System Paying for ITs Own Change with the Interest it Charges and Delivers. ........ for Out of this World Banking on Virtual Reality Drivers.

    amfM NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActivity Boldly Going..... Darling.

    I Kid U Not.

  9. Mage Silver badge

    Access

    I can access my own files securely from anywhere on any gadget that supports VPN.

    I see no need at all for Cloud Computing.

    If I had lots of people needing remote access, I'd sysnc with a co-located datacentre server of my own. Very cheap.

  10. Mark W
    Stop

    Really?

    "...software as a service and all the rest are bollocks"

    I strongly disagree. I spent a few minutes chatting to Thomas Besthorne (Managing Director SAP Hosting) when I visited one of their datacentres last year. By offering software as a service, SAP is available and economically-viable to very small companies who otherwise could not afford the in-house expertise requried to manage and administer it.

    In our case (1000ish users worldwide) it makes perfect sense to leave the running of SAP to people who know about running SAP, and get the best quality support backed with SLAs that we couldn't possibly match internally, all without taking on extra 'specialists' at great expense.

    That's hardly bollocks...

  11. Steven Dick

    Don't comment if you don't know what you're talking about

    How many people are commenting from a personal point-of-view compared to a business point-of-view?

    I used to run my own mail server so that the multiple PCs I have can all access the same email. After a recent mail server issue I migrated my mail setup to Gmail. I want centralised email but running my own mail server is a pain-in-the-arse. Gmail solves the problem.

    It's the same for the small company I work for: we're software developers and we don't want to manage the IT infrastructure, nor is it economically feasible for us to hire a sys admin to do it for us.

    And what do we do when we want to test the scaling of our software? Buy 10 additional servers? That doesn't make financial sense, either. That's where the promise of cloud computing's elasticity in provisioning comes into play.

    People who talk about the bandwidth cost have a point, but that's why the big bank I used to work at was developing their own cloud.

    In short, I think the really big players such as banks will build their own clouds and the small/medium guys will buy from the cloud vendors.

    If you think it's still all bollocks, Amazon say that their biggest customers for EC2 (their cloud) are the banks and telcos.

  12. John
    Paris Hilton

    False dichotomy

    It's not a question of 'Cloud yes or no', but rather 'yes' for those things which lend themselves well to cloudification (new word?) and 'no' to those that don't.

    trivial examples.

    Email filtering - yes

    Corporate web filtering - yes

    Printing - no, duh!

    Paris because she lives on Cloud 9.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    RE: Transparent Alien Systems for Self Regulation. Normal Rules do NOT Apply.

    So in a nutshell, you forsee a greater group of governance that sits on the shoulders of the companies that run these cloud services.

    Do you really think that the governance of cloud computing would fall to a globally neutral group of people (without bias, without a conflict of interest) with so many of the large names making a run for the same finish line.

    If we see a time when companies begin creating a global system of governance, then we will truly become one with the conspiracy theorists. Think how many people already discuss the control that Captains of Industry have over the world markets and the economic viability of countries as a whole. Do you really want to see that grow exponentially as information is owned by a super-conglomerate group, capable of removing you from existence with the click of a button?

    Hrm, maybe that's not too far off the mark from what we have now?

    I hate competing with my own conspiracy theories.

    Sounds like the black helicopters are the least of our worries. Mine's the one with the tin-foil lining and urban camouflage.

  14. Ishkandar

    @Tanya Cumpston

    God !! You *ARE* a BOF (Boring Old Fart) like me !! Multics - purportedly the Ultimate Computer. When it went tits-up, some refugees from that project started some skunkworks and the rest, as they say, is the history of Unix and C !! Kernigan, Ritchie, Aho, Wienberg and gang !!

  15. Ishkandar
    Flame

    @tebiru - Eh ? Eh ?

    1) Data can be accessed from anywhere, from a variety of devices. --- especially by unscrupulous persons of a criminal nature !!

    2) Software upgrades a far more painless procedure - almost invisible to the user --- as in You *VILL* use Windows Vista whether you Vant it or not !!

    3) Potential for processing power-intensive software to be accessed at very little cost vs buying the hardware yourself (particularly handy if your usage of said software is quite limited, or one-off) --- If it's of limited or one-of usage, why not just pay someone to do it for you. If you need to use it more often, why not have your own copy on your own hardware. Shared software on shared hardware have the distinct disadvantage of having many users wanting to use the same damn thing at the same time and, thereby, slowing the processing to less than owned software and hardware !!

    e.g. If PH was to suddenly announce that, *horror of horrors*, she will become a nun and take the vow of chastity, the number of emails and messages flashing around the world would be tremendous especially when everyone simply "forwards" the received messages to everyone else in their address books AND that is *NOT* counting the number of online bets, made and taken on how long she will hold on to her vow, and the resultant financial transactions !! And there you are valiantly trying to calculate the value of Pi to the millionth significant place !!

  16. trackSuit

    Re. Simon D

    Notions of global governance are not new, as this link, -going back as far as 2006 and pertaining to Gordon Brown would suggest:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/6xf9b7

    Notice the enthusiasm with which he speaks. Is PM a short stop/pass go and collect 50 on ITs way to his ultimate goal of a comfy seat at the UN -admission prepaid?

  17. Brian Catt

    It All Depends on the User and The Service and the Provider

    Um, for a number of business applications termainla computing works extremely well, and also for public service applications like homework, taxes, etc. e.g. Where people (most) don't create but complete forms other design or get data others have input - a pre structured dialogue. The few power users who understand what they are using will need smart terminals capable of local processing, but not the mass of no technical users who just access a service in a bewildering tech world imposed on them by arrogant techies. They need a connected Play Station for Grown Up Apps.

    How you construct a cloud is totally dependent on your applications, it could be all Intranet/extranet on private infrastructure to run ERP/SCM say, or broad public/consumer access to hosted servers - which may be publicly available but come with a level a of security most MNC data centres would love to have.

    etc. The totally opinionated views of the hard of thinking tech bigots above are well exposed by the more considered objective replies, its horses for courses, but the lack of understanding of what most people need from pervasive computing services (to access a service) is indicative of the reason PC technology is still inaccessible to the majority of people and we don't have computing for the rest of us from well integrated consumer devices - sealed boxes that look after themselves. It doesn't suit the techies who have run the IBM architecture PC based industry to date. See:

    www.eurochannel.org/blogs/The_Next_PC/The_Next_PC.html

    For one I made a few years ago. Coming one day...

    Brian Catt

  18. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Further Clarification......

    "So in a nutshell, you forsee a greater group of governance that sits on the shoulders of the companies that run these cloud services." .... By Simon D

    Posted Thursday 1st May 2008 09:45 GMT

    Not QUITe, Simon D, although that was a good attempt. The greater group of governance will Server Needs for the companies wishing/ready, willing and able to Feed the Cloud with IT Services which will the Power Earthly dDevelopment. The Cloud is an Intellectual Space, which is only and easily Controlled with Better Beta Intelligence to Act as an Impartial Non-State Actor Driver. To think otherwise is to completely miss the point and render oneself disadvantaged.

    It is a Parallel Universal Control Space for Unified and Unifying Power AIgents. It doesn't actually compete with existing structures, it just ensures that they are aware of its existence and what they can and are best equipped to do. Command and Control is already Established in Its Environment/Myriad Fields and stands alone on ITs Own Firm Foundations..... and of that you can be assured.

    "Do you really want to see that grow exponentially as information is owned by a super-conglomerate group, capable of removing you from existence with the click of a button?" Of course not ......what do you Think the Cloud is for? IT wouldn't and doesn't tolerate such arrogant hubristic foolishness. Those Idiotic Great Games are for Boys and the Psychologically Flawed and Intellectually Naive although they can also be described as Demented and Delusional too. Apparently a Common Affliction with those Rooted to Earthly Possessions??

    A Dumb Rhetorical Question which is sadly too well Answered?

    "http://preview.tinyurl.com/6xf9b7

    Notice the enthusiasm with which he speaks. Is PM a short stop/pass go and collect 50 on ITs way to his ultimate goal of a comfy seat at the UN -admission prepaid?" ..... By trackSuit Posted Thursday 1st May 2008 13:51 GMT

    A Nice Valid Viable Concept, trackSuit. :-) Certainly Distribution of Wealth which is really no more than Supplying Paper for Spending/Feeding Credit to Current Accounts to those who can spend it on Creating Infrastructures and Economies, would certainly get my Vote. Thanks for Sharing that piece of Old News. I wonder why they didn't act upon it?

  19. David

    Let's face it

    Cloud Computing has about as much chance of succeeding as the electricity grid.

  20. Kanhef

    History

    'Cloud computing' isn't new. We've already had systems of thin clients that send most work to a large, powerful processor. It was called a minicomputer.

    What are the advantages of going back to such a system? It could simplify administration in a business environment. Until someone gets a drive-by-download virus. Can't quarantine a computer and send IT up to fix it, since the mainframe's infected. Whoops. Fatten up the clients enough to run an independent OS, and they're more than capable of handling WP/email/etc. again. An Exchange server, automated document synchronization, and VPN, and you have your 'cloud computing', all in-house. You'll need such a system for the sensitive material (financials, R&D, etc.) you can't responsibly put on someone else's network, so you might as well keep it all in one place.

    I can't see how such systems could be sold to consumers, either. E.g. great deal of a computer, only $149, but to do anything you need a contract with a cloud provider ($39.99/mo, min 2 year agreement, $199 early termination fee, all files deleted at end of contract and good luck trying to move them to a different provider!).

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