back to article Google urged to make a more loving cloud

Yes, Google has opened its cloud to every developer down on earth. But for some, it's not quite as open as it should be. Speaking this morning at Structure 08, a mini-conference dedicated to cloud computing, Jason Hoffman, founder and CTO of Joyent, called on Google to open source its cloud-based database, BigTable - or at …


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  1. Scott Hutslar

    SaaS vs. In-house

    Sounds to me that SaaS locks a company into it's applications just as much as the in-house applications. Wasn't that one of the big selling points the marketing folks were making..."It's just a service, you can move on at any time. No fuss. No muss."

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge


    The problem for both SaaS and In House, in a Novel Environment such as is Virtualisation, is that business does not migrate to mirroring services offering nearly the same for less but homes in on new business just arriving in town. And with some real fancy "God knows what that does, because I sure as hell don't" stuff to baffle the natives already deeply embedded in Systems, are Host and Client Special Relationships Forged.

    I do hope Google are more Native Baffler than Federal Rogue for only the Former can treat the Latter.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are not really locked in

    You can take your data out, and shove it into another system.

    But, they do want a tie in of sorts, that is how all software companies establish dominance, they normally hold it for a while until people in the opensource world, make the filters and translators.

    Google will just monitor the situation, until they think they have to release the internal spec. But, I don't see too much of a lock in, getting the relationships between the data should be trivial as well, so the mechanics behind all of it is the selling point.

    In-house is hardly a lock in either, there you own it kit and kaboodle. Businesses are not going to be using cloud computing for their core systems, they will use it to augment, and for marketing. It is the ISPs who should be a little concerned about cloud computing (the server ISPs), as that is the target really. It could make more sense running an ecommerce front end on the cloud, but a bit daft to stick up all your back end operation on the cloud.

    Google is about information, people probably do have to start worrying just how much information that company can take, and they are not stupid, they have perhaps the best minds in IT and the largest hardware infrastructure. Their ability to connect the dots is phenomenal.

    It is a shame no one else understands how to create a search engine, it is not too hard, but the real trick is accommodating the tech end, and the web site producers, and Google does that better than anyone else. The search is simple, but the real trick is on the other end, the data input.

    Take Ask for example, excellent interface, lousy search engine, in as much as it is virtually impossible to get into. So, you don't tend to push their usage to people. And most of the other search engines are just running Goggle with their own front end.

    So, it is not lock in I fear it is Google's mass appeal that is the problem, they will be hoovering up even more data now, but data that is very well organized as well, for inclusion into a database. They need some competition, otherwise they will know it all, and that's kinda worrying for any one company to be in that position.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Of course, if they stated in their User Requirements Specification that 'the data will belong to the client' and/or 'the data must be movable' then why the hell would you choose Google? - it wouldn't match the spec. Or don't the cloud-clowns believe in specifications?

    Paris, because even she knows that an anagram of Cloud Computing is 'CLOUD CPU GO MINT'

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Well, lock in is big. It's the thing that makes the sales geek's eyes light up and the CxOs to go "ooo."

    The company I am working for is contemplating SaaS. We have a customer base that is currently really dependant on some rather niche third-party apps to get their work done. They then hand the data off to us, and we push the button to create goodies. The thing is that we have customers that vary from the ma an' pa, to the fairly enormous. Ma an' pa have a little trouble affording [X] worth of licensing every couple of years just to get data to us.

    A little bit of brainstorming between the developer of these apps, (we are usually the supplier of them to our customers, along the other services we provide,) and the devs were coaxed into allowing a SaaS model. Offer up the app running in a VM inside our server farm. Get all the devs to agree, and hey, now you can rent a VM from us for a [Y] a year, (or whatever the sales geeks set,) and use the apps to your heart's content. The data is already in our warehouse, so you push button, receive bacon from a goodies side. Great for Ma an' Pa, they don't have to shell out so much, and can still get work done.

    The kicker is, however, that all that data lives in our little cloud, and we own the licenses to everything, and the hardware, etc. etc. etc. Leave, go ahead, but to where? If you go anywhere else, you have to buy that full suite of apps, because our competition simply isn't there yet. Even if they were, we have your data.

    I'll be honest, the SaaS bid for a mid-sized business like ours is a gamble. We are cutting our teeth on the technology, trying to build a small, google-style whitebox datacenter, with ultra-low costs, while still providing all the uptime, backup, redundancy etc. So far as I know, our team is the only one in our industry on our continent even capable of attempting this. In trying to pull this off, we work out all the bus, we broker the deals with the providers, and we do all the legwork getting customers used to the idea. The next guy in simply has to copy, and *bang* instant problems.

    The idea of locking the customers in hard, and locking them in early is the only way this would even be financially viable. If customers could simply rotary shop for the lowest price on something like this, it’s be unimplementable. Our industry has razor thin margins as it is, we couldn’t afford to subsidize a cloud setup for our customers the way some of the larger behemoths in our industry could.

    Those are the issues of a medium enterprise in North America. When you deal in customer numbers on the scale of Google, the reason for lock in becomes ever more understandable.

    Anonymous Coward so as not to be giving away ideas to our competition. :)

  6. Simon Painter

    How naive?

    Google is a 'for profit' company. One of its competetive advantage is the huge quantity of stuff it writes like Big Table. If they hand that over to everyone then where is their competetive advantage?

    It's like asking a car manufacturer to hand over the blueprints to the new concept car a few months before the car show.

  7. Magnus

    @Simon Painter

    As a profit driven company they will make a profit driven decision. Will opening up the Big Table code get them more new customers (as they now feel more comfortable using it) than they would lose from the additional competition.

    The other thing is that if they do open it up and it becomes a popular de facto standard in the SaaS world they are going to be inflicting large costs on their competitors. Google already has all their systems set up for Big Table. Amazon etc will have to invest money to convert or make their systems compatible to remain competitive.

    There are reasons why Microsoft or Adobe, who no one will argue aren't out for profit, give out some of their software for free.

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Lowly Abuse from High Tech.

    "Anonymous Coward so as not to be giving away ideas to our competition. :)" .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 26th June 2008 07:42 GMT.

    Love the Tongue in Cheek Humour, AC, after such an informative post. And all data worth sharing to be made Real, travels in the Cloud and runs the Gauntlet of Peer Review and Modification just because IT can, and siloed datacentres then have no need to waste resources on unnecessary useless, metadata protection, thinking of later converting information into liquid profit, causing division and inequity...... Capitalism's "answer" to old and ancient and regal powers. And a miserable and pathetic clone it is too.

    In a System, as is today, with ever increasing flows of Information, does the Machine become Dynamic with Time Zone Buffers being completely removed from the Big Picture.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh, I agree 100% that once the bugs are worked out of the ideas, say, in {n} years time, and everyone runs on these virtualized "clouds" run by various corporations that the "laughable idea" of monetizing other people's data will seem quaint...

    ...but for the Litte Guy right now it's the only way to play in the game. Do you know many people who work for Wal Mart? How about Telcos? Do you know many people who work for big chains, boxes, conglomerates etc? They aren't often treated well, or paid much. They are as disposable, replaceable and irrelevant as the customer data in cloud world.

    Again you are correct in that the emergence and dominance of these mega-corporations is a modern aristocracy trying to recapture the utterly epic societal control and wealth of monarchies past. The issue is that, like the peasants of yesteryear, we have no choice but to keep our heads low, grab what we can, and hope not to anger the local lords.

    Is monetizing user data a viable long term solution? No, it honestly isn’t. It might bring some added profitability to the small company for 5, 10 years, before it’s abandoned to a mega-corp. The beauty of IT-based micro-solutions like this for small companies trying to eek out a living is that IT works on 3-5 year hardware refresh cycles. When the cycles comes up, you simply ask yourself “stay in, or give the customers to someone else?”

    As always, it’s about business decisions. If you don’t want to be a peasant for the new aristocracy by working as a faceless drone for a mega-corp, then you have to innovate more and faster than everyone else just to pay the bills.

    We can't compete in a truely global economy...only the new aristocracy can do that, but if we play our cards right, treat local customers with dignity, and provide them the best widgets in the industry...we can avoid being a drone for another decade at least.

  10. amanfromMars Silver badge

    re @amanfromMras

    Anonymous Coward,

    What you may have patently forgotten to factor into the melting pot, is that Virtualisation Applications are a whole new ball game to everyone, and there are no mega corporations at play in ITs Spaces, but a whole lot of Binary Thinkers researching the Space for the Fat Cat Shark mega corporation.

    They are all at Sea in the computer-centric Virtual model for Input Instructions/Special Application of Programming and will lose their fortunes and dominating positions to Virtual Entities in the Cloud who will just appear out of nowhere with more money than they need, to take away all the money that their clients need/want from Establishment Sub-Prime Brokers and the Banking System.

    And there is nothing that they can do to stop it happening because in CyberSpace and Virtualisation Environments, Transparency is King and Rules whereas Dodgy Deals Hidden in Secrets is the Idiot Norm they waste Time and Effort and Credibility on maintaining, merely to maintain the Old Ways which allow them Leverage/Control with Wealth.

    The only currency in Virtualisation is Intelligence and Intelligence concludes that the Establishment Capitalist Model is Fundamentally Flawed. It is certainly easily cracked open and used and abused and whilst it remains in denial of its fate/destiny/future, will mounting greater losses and new names to the Great Game, change the Scenery.

  11. Fuion


    "The only currency in Virtualisation is Intelligence and Intelligence concludes that the Establishment Capitalist Model is Fundamentally Flawed. It is certainly easily cracked open and used and abused and whilst it remains in denial of its fate/destiny/future, will mounting greater losses and new names to the Great Game, change the Scenery"

    "Is that Windows taking down the $ dollar? Is that the Microsoft Legacy?"

    ---> Invalid syntax / need more input.

  12. Andrew Badera

    @AC: you sound like Apprenda in NYS ...


  13. Quantum



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