back to article Cloud computing: A catchphrase in puberty

It's been called a lot of things: utility computing, grid computing, distributed computing, and now cloud computing. You can come up with any CTO-friendly name you like, but they all mean the same shit: Renting your quickly depreciating physical assets out because your software company is out of ideas for computer programs. …


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  1. James
    Thumb Up

    Strategic resources:

    Great ! Totally agree with this. Where is anyone going to place their strategic resources ***. They're going to keep them in-house, on systems they own, with software they own and know how to use. Not on a bunch of servers somewhere else in the world (probably the US where the Patriot Act can be invoked to access all your business data).

    *** Apart from the UK government which seems determined to sell off, rent off and otherwise dispose of all the UKs strategic assets to the anyone with a pretence at IT knowledge.

    And then there's the "green" angle. As a geologist and since I looked into the figures on this I no longer believe that "gobal warming" / climate change is anything other than a fairly normal climate cycle which our planet has indulged in since time immemorial. Now I can ignore the guilt these "green" pushers are trying to invoke!

  2. Tim Groven
    Thumb Up


    Well written article and made me laugh on a Monday morning.


  3. Pete Silver badge

    welcome to the real world, laddie

    Oh dear, sounds like someone's just got out of college and discovered that out here, things don't always work the way they do in your lectures on "best practice" and "software design".

  4. John H Woods Silver badge


    "As a geologist ..." LOL

  5. David Harper appears to be

    "Ted Dziuba is co-founder and CTO of"

    So I visited but all I got was:

    "502 Proxy Error

    The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.

    The proxy server could not handle the request GET /."

    Very Web 2.0, Ted :-)

  6. Mike Powers

    Twitter/Facebook mashup?

    ..."twatface", maybe?


    "...something tells me that the Google search engine...isn't written in Python, making [App Engine] just a proper beat off for the web programming community."

    But isn't that what Web2.0 is all about, when you get right down to it? The idea is that everything you do is a loss-leader to get people looking at advertising. Anything that "fosters a sense of community" (read: gets people coming to the same page over and over again) is good for the business.

  7. Christopher Martin
    Thumb Up

    Fuck me, give that man a raise.

    Funny, profane, and finally a reasonable explanation of all this cloud fuss. This is why I keep coming back to El Reg.

  8. midger
    Paris Hilton


    "As a geologist..." LOL x 2

    That just cracks me up.

    Paris? Must be the climate...

  9. Paul Kinlan
    Thumb Down


    Cynical at best, a joke of an article...

    I suppose the point should be that these services are just the start of the new. I know plenty of business that run of machines host away from their data centres where they are susceptible to the pipe and host.

    There will be plenty of apps in the future that run off EC2 and/or GAE.


  10. halfcut

    (required to comment)

    "I'm not a geologist but I can tell you- that THIS server... *brandishes*...will save the earth in not less than 30 years or your money back"

    Cut to graphs, wobbly CGI and other SCIENCE!

    Triumphant whalesong with mumbled "Terms and conditions may apply. May not be true" blended in at just under audible threshold.

    Fade out

  11. The Badger

    Words in other people's mouths

    - "Google App Engine launched with great fanfare from the Python community."

    I think the fanfare was heard coming from the Google code/beta people and their blogger audience, not the Python community in general. The main attractions for the Python people are that App Engine is yet another deployment possibility (if you can be bothered to rework your application), and it exposes yet more people to Python.

    - "Finally," they said, "somebody has figured out how to make Python scale."

    I doubt anyone actually said that - there's quite a bit of Python out there scaling well enough already. Having a stripped-down Python environment plugged into Google's proprietary infrastructure with a Google kill-switch attached isn't what most people are looking for. Meanwhile, I've seen plenty of evidence of worthwhile applications running on EC2.

    Talking about worthwhile applications, your own Internet venture doesn't seem particularly performant: I typed "Google" into the search box and after a few of minutes loading I get a proxy error. Perhaps you need to join the cloud, or just move into opinion pieces full time and lose the veneer of supposedly knowing much better.

  12. Gianni Catalfamo

    When I was a kid...

    ...this stuff was called DCS (Distributed Computing Services) or Time Sharing and was sold by IBM; way more robust and performant than any client server shit ever was, if you ask me.

  13. Luther Blissett

    That Amazon e-mail must have hurt

    I saw a TV program with a guy who installed a tapeworm for fun. Let it grow inside himself for months - with no ill effects. Eventually in the name of science (tho it may have been audience ratings) it was time to part company. Viewers were treated to the sight of him unwinding the beast in his backyard - and there really were yards and yards of it. I wonder if he has it in a glass case on his mantelpiece.

    Tapeworm vs. Python - an interesting grudge match. I always thought of Python as awk++, which was just sed++, which was just grep+. And who would build Web 2.0 on grep, even with classes? But I guess the job security that is C++ is only for Real Programmers, and there is not enough of these to go around the business. It looks like the Python ate the tapeworm.

  14. Andy Bright

    mainframes and dumb terminals..

    Like the guy at IBM said in the 80s.. no one will ever want their own personal computer. Took up 25 years to finally agree with him. I wonder if we can get our VAX back.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    And of course this excellent article is accompanied by several 'How IT Management Can "Green" the Data Center - Free Download' ads.

  16. Alex

    Is it me...

    ...or did the whole article sound (read?) like maddox writing about IT?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on they have do marketing

    The cloud is just another tool in the arsenal.

    I would sell stock in any company that moves all their IT services to the cloud, possibly short as well, they are going to be going out of business very soon.

    So, yeah no one is going to move everything over kit and kaboodle, but they will use it for tests, backups, and other things. The other things are going to be the interesting ones.

    The IT sector demand is always set to expand, up until the best can be replaced with AI computer systems, and only the best can make those so that probably isn't happening any time soon. So, no one will lose their job to the cloud unless they were going to lose their job anyhow cloud or not. But, new demands will be created by the cloud, so hey not a bad thing.

    But, the cloud doesn't offer great financial advantages unless you have some deep investment with it, it will be more of playground where some interesting stuff will come from, but it will never take over because people like to own.

    As the bandwidth increases to the homes and offices, then you will see the shift, people will just host local, it makes far more sense than a data centre, as long as you have the bandwidth.

    So, it is not the cloud that will win in the end, it will be the spokes, I trust myself far more than any data centre and I suspect others feel the same way.

    We can meet on the cloud, but much better to come over to my place where there are cool beers in the fridge, and real ale on tap.

  18. Erik Aamot

    Green ?!?

    How much more energy is being used updating a document over the internet versus creating / editing locally, and uploading / email'n the completed files where they need to go ?

    Doesn't this whole distributed-remote-retrieval scheme involve considerally more physical HDDs running and WE™,WebEnvironment™ connected 24/7 ?

    I agree with the author, it's driven by overcapacity in data centers and bandwidth. Developers will have a hard time making the WE™, much more than it is now.

    Plus, having only *authorized* depositories for documents, with appropriate copyrights protected and item paid for is what get-your-head-out-of-the-cloud computing is about really, your home or business PC being completely open to WE™ and all OURAPPS™

    of course, security issues will be be handled by MutuallyAssuredStorage©

  19. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    @Luther Blissett

    Do not despise the snake for having no horns for who is to say it will not become a dlagon.

    If a problem is a good match to grep's strengths (picking out lines from a text file that match a regular expression), use grep and you will get results with less effort than with C++ or python.

    If a simple problem is a good match to sed's strengths (making changes to a text file), use sed and you will get results with less effort than with C++ or python. Insanely skilled programmers can solve complex problems with sed, but sane skilled programmers know better.

    If a problem is a good match to awk's strengths, (source text files are divided into records and records are divided into fields by simple patterns and you do not have to do complex processing to get to the required answer), use awk and you will get results with less effort than with C++ or python.

    None of these tools are a good choice for a large project. Awk's arithmetic is primitive and the others can barely add. If you have a problem that is large or not a good match for the strengths of these text manipulation tools (you missed M4 ;-), then pick something more general purpose like C++ or python.

    Python is sufficiently fool proof that even a half wit can get some results from it (probably needs at least a one third wit). Let a one-and-a-half wit loose with a python interpreter, and she will get results quicker than with C++. The results will be more CPU intensive than C++. If this actually matters, she can recode the inner loops in C++, C or assembly language and still give a C++ snob a good race.

    Python is not awk+extras. It is not dumbed down C++ either. It is a high level language with the costs and benefits of an extra layer of abstraction. (Likewise C++ is not just C with // for comments :-)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's got a future...

    topical article...and it does hit a few nails.'s cutely named ec2 is a great way to file up a few servers running heavy-weight servers (glassfish or whatever you want) and try out a prototype app which is both clustered, transaction protected and can upscale to lots more servers with just a few clicks...and for under $100 a month...e.g. this is an awesome thing that amazon (and others) are offering. don't think i'd put a production app on it ' fact most companies would not be able to because of a thing called governance...i hope.

  21. Stephen Thair
    Thumb Up

    I appreciate the humour but economies of scale can't be dismissed...

    The article made me laugh but I don't think that you can dismiss "the cloud" concept quite so easily...

    Like Andy and Gianni above I date back to the days of CRJE and big IBM mainframes... so all of this has a wiff of "back to the future"... but these days I run Operations for a high volume website (50M pi/month, 3M unique users etc).

    And frankly, it's a pain in the a*se!

    So if someone can take away the hassle of managing servers, data centres, scalability etc so we can focus on the "value-add" stuff (i.e. the application) with serious economies of scale driving their price point WAYYYY lower than anything we can manage surely it's worth considering?

    As I see it it is just another step along the "hosting lifecycle"... people went from their own "corporate data centres" to sticking their servers in "co-lo" to get the higher availability etc, then to "managed services" to outsource the low value nuts&bolts hardware stuff then to "managed application services" to give them even greater focus on the development stuff. "Cloud" is just one step further along.

    Sure, maybe the Amazon and Google guys wouldn't know "service delivery" and a meaningful SLA if if slapped them in the face with a fish from the Seattle Fish Market but eventually someone is going to offer this service at a commercial level.

    Even Rackspace are already getting into the act - check out Mosso

    So is "The Cloud" currently whispy cirrus floating in cloud cuckoo land... maybe.

    Will it one day be a nice fat cumulo-nimbus raining down compute cycles onto the people who want to focus on developing intellectual property in their applications and not run data centres... definitely.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    you're no george carlin

    i think you're a talented enough writer that you could make your point just as well without resorting to swear words. give it a try.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @ John H Woods & midger

    I'm much more likely to listen to a geologist about climate change than either of you twats. Geologists are the only people who look at the climate of the planet over periods where you can get statistically significant data from them. Limestone traps more CO2 in the earth than anything else (including all vegetation put together), and has a fantastic ability to negatively feedback (increased atmospheric CO2 results in more Limestone production, reducing atmospheric CO2. Geological events like volcanic eruptions have had much more significant effects on the climate than we can ever hope for. Overall the geology arguments are far more compelling than the modellers, who aren't clever enough to write models for the financial markets, so they go and write 3rd rate models on a chaotic system, including destabilising terms, and expect the general public to eat them up. Get a grip guys.

  24. Mike Powers
    Paris Hilton


    AC: "I'm much more likely to listen to a geologist about climate change..."

    Because, as we all know, air is primarily composed of dirt. (seriously, _geologists_?)

    Luther: "I saw a TV program with a guy who installed a tapeworm for fun."

    I wonder which distro he used?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Interesting discussion...

    ...with several good posts.

    <pedant> g/re/p is sed... </pedant>

  26. Mark
    Thumb Down

    Serious article?

    What a poor article. I'm sure that if you were in Tesco and the checkout person started swearing you'd think they were totally unprofessional. So it is with this article.

  27. Alan Donaly

    Great article, keep it up.

    I also had this idea whats it going to cost when or if it begins to stretch it's resources, how much can the market bear. I especially liked the Willy Wonka reference to Google that really fits well,and it's all very creepy.

  28. Greg Fawcett

    1 out of 10

    The mindless profanity lost you 3 points - occasionally clever use of mild obscenities can add personality to a piece, but if this is your personality, I'm out of here.

    You lost the rest of the points for short sightedness and lack of imagination - I'm sure you'd have heaped even more sh*t and f*cks on most of the other paradigm shifts we have experienced.

    Not overplaying the power of developers, but they do tend to seek out the future. The PC took off because it included a programming language, and those so inclined could easily develop interesting and useful applications.

    Then Microsoft stopped shipping a programming environment with their OS, and Linux springs into life. Coincidence? It's easy for developers to do stuff on Linux, so suddenly that's where the exciting stuff is.

    Cloud computing may be nebulous (ha!), but it makes life easy for developers - particularly App Engine, where you don't need to be an accomplished sysadmin to get your app onto the web.

    Watch this space, and be prepared to eat your (filthy) words.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down



  30. Bruce Arnold

    Kudos to the Cloud Crowd for Re-Inventing the Wheel!

    One thing 30 years in the IT industry has taught me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Another is that the only memory we seem to access is short-term. Yet another is that techno-marketeers rely on that, so they can put labels like "revolutionary" and "innovative" on platforms, products and services that are mere re-inventions of the wheel ... and often poor copies at that.

    A good example is all the buzz about "Cloud Computing" in general and "SaaS" (software as a service) in particular:

    Both terms are bogus. The only true cloud computing takes place in aircraft. What they're actually referring to by "the cloud" is a large-scale and often remotely located and managed computing platform. We have had those since the dawn of electronic IT. IBM calls them "mainframes":

    The only innovation offered by today's cloud crowd is actually more of a speculation, i.e. that server farms can deliver the same solid performance as Big Iron. And even that's not original. Anyone remember Datapoint's ARCnet, or DEC's VAXclusters? Whatever happened to those guys, anyway...?

    And as for SaaS, selling the sizzle while keeping the steak is a marketing ploy most rightfully accredited to society's oldest profession. Its first application in IT was (and for many still is) known as the "service bureau". And I don't mean the contemporary service bureau (mis)conception labelled "Service 2.0" by a Wikipedia contributor whose historical perspective is apparently constrained to four years:

    Instead, I mean the computer service bureau industry that spawned ADAPSO (the Association of Data Processing Service Organizations) in 1960, and whose chronology comprises a notable portion of the IEEE's "Annals of the History of Computing":

    So ... for any of you slide rule-toting, pocket-protected keypunch-card cowboys who may be just coming out of a 40-year coma, let me give you a quick IT update:

    1. "Mainframe" is now "Cloud" (with concomitant ethereal substance).

    2. "Terminal" is now "Web Browser" (with much cooler games, and infinitely more distractions).

    3. "Service Bureau" is now "SaaS" (but app upgrades are just as painful, and custom mods equally elusive).

    4. Most IT buzzwords boil down to techno-hyped BS (just as they always have).

    Bruce Arnold, Web Design Miami Florida

  31. Assessor
    Gates Horns

    How's this for lulz?

    Check on which server runs... ahahhahahahahahahahaah... guess what, it runs on EC2!

    do a 'whois' if you don't believe me.

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Bryce Prewitt


    Not on MY internets, Ted! How dare! The Register have really done it THIS TIME! What the fuck has Lester done with my beloved family friendly tech magazine?! I want articles written by carebears coddling new technology in its infancy! Millionaire venture capitalists and the college drop-outs that milk them should NEVER have to face reality, especially one so profane!

  34. omg

    "Fail" IS NOT A NOUN!!!

    Ignorant cretins!

  35. greybadger

    hmmm.. eh?

  36. Anonymous Coward


    "Check on which server runs... ahahhahahahahahahahaah... guess what, it runs on EC2!"

    That would explain the part in the article about the EC2 servers paging the author in the middle of the night.

    You're a numpty, sorry.

  37. chris

    It's raining stones

    "Geologists are the only people who look at the climate of the planet over periods where you can get statistically significant data from them"

    Naw, that'd be the paleo-climatologists, pal. The ones that've looked at the CO2 trapped in ice cores and found the levels tracking the global temperature. Like, er, the pattern being seen now.

    And what about all the laid-down carbon getting released from its geological store under the middle east.


  38. foobar

    Wrong use of EC2

    Sounds like the author doesn't appreciate the SLA differences for EC2 and S3

  39. Omega Wolf

    Cloud computing = ripoff

    I never bought into cloud computing for a second. I don't like the idea of all my data being stored remotely and I can only get to it when I'm online. I could maybe see it if I traveled a lot, but I don't.

    I think cloud computing will take off like a lead balloon.

  40. The Other Steve


    Again : Mod +1 for swearies and fuck the haters.

    Also :

    @Flocke Kroes

    "(Likewise C++ is not just C with // for comments :-)"

    No, you get to #include <string> as well ! Object Orientation, pah, I've heard of it ;-)

    @Greg Fawcett

    "Then Microsoft stopped shipping a programming environment with their OS, and Linux springs into life. Coincidence? It's easy for developers to do stuff on Linux, so suddenly that's where the exciting stuff is."

    Not really a "Coincidence" no, but somehow I very much doubt that the rise of Linux is attributable to Microsoft's decision not to ship GWBasic/QBasic. Besides, Windows Scripting Host and notepad are a viable alternative in more recent Redmond releases. If you like that sort of thing. And of course, you can (now) get free versions of all the .NET dev tools and VC++. If you like _that_sort of thing.

    And as for 'easy', until recently, most linux dev tools exhibited all the user friendliness of a hypoglycaemic tigress with PMT.

  41. NaturalLog
    Thumb Down

    Pressflip licks horse balls

    Just saying.... What kind of news aggregation service is it when the same three freaking articles are in that area of interest and there is no way to say 'I ALREADY READ THIS SHIT LAST WEEK!' ??

    With how Ted went off on everybody and their mother in 'Web 2.0' on Uncov I really thought 'Damn, this guy must really know some shit! Can't wait to see what he's cooking up with this Persai business..'

    Then...'Oh, is this it?' Karmic 10x FAIL, Ted.

    Anyway, the article... Yeah, having everything locally stored and managed on your own servers is way better than the 'Cloud' because then nothing ever crashes and you never have to get calls in the middle of the night about the server crashing and that the backup failed....oh, wait...yeah, you still do.

    Hmm, well then there must be something in this article that makes some kind of point with valid assertions. Let's, no. No, guess not.

    But hey, that never stopped creative writing. And that is what this is comedic creative writing. So, quit that Pressflip mess, quit trying to swing your tiny balls on El Reg and work on getting a job with Comedy Central or something.

    P.S. What is up with the people bitching about the language? That's the best part!

  42. Adam Fisk
    Thumb Down

    Entertaining, but technically worthless

    Old Ted is entertaining and a good writer, but I certainly can't vouch for his technically prowess. Must be something about how consistently wrong he is and his lack of experience. I've written a lot of code on both App Engine and AWS, and I've just finished up some of the latest comparisons here:

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ The Geologist

    Yeah, like what sort of geologist ?

    You people crack me up .. especially the guy saying "hey I trust the geologist" ... err why ? Do you know him/her ? he hasn't even stated his area of expertise FFS. He could be a "crystal healer".

    Talk about the gullibility of crowds.

  44. Jonti

    green greenies

    The jeering at the professional geologist reveals scientific ignorance.

    There have indeed been much wider climate fluctuations than the one we are busy triggering off. And indeed there's a feedback mechanism that stabilises things. In geological time scales, you understand.

    Them's the facts, as stated. It's no contradiction to also say that we may well provoke a catastrophe for the human race in the coming decades and centuries by triggering climate changes.

  45. dave lawless

    Hands up if you can use ed !

    In place editing of config files via scripts - check!

    echo 'g / host$/ d

    a host




    ' | ed /etc/hosts

    what's that in C++ ?

    Those that don't know etc.

  46. Kevin Kitts


    we'll be off the planet or dead as a race within 50 years, due to overpopulation and wars over resources and food. Nature won't need to lift a finger (or cloud, for that matter).

    Speaking of which, wonderful article, Reg. If there's so much free server area for this crap, why don't they become ISPs instead and stop Comcast et al from making bandwidth caps, you know, do something USEFUL with their hardware?

    If cloud computing were to catch on, and they changed their terms of service to, well, the Chrome setup (where they get to copy everything you see in a browser for free), then people would be screwed because they'd release the changes to the ToS in the middle of the night, and put them in a physical office in a basement somewhere with no light or stairs in a locked filing cabinet with a sign saying "Beware of the Leopard".

    If you trust any company to hold your wallet, you should be slapped and sterilized so your lunacy doesn't get passed on to future generations.

    The only cloud in cloud computing is the cloud being made from a certain herb that those people must be smoking if they think cloud computing will be worthwhile. There's no security when the owner of the server has all the keys, and can copy data indiscriminately.

    Jolly Roger, for yet another instance of data piracy at work. Cannonballs attached to the legs, and walk the plank, please.

  47. Thomas Baker

    Same people complaining about swearing again and again and again...

    Why do you read this website?! Stop coming back if you're offended by swearing - it's not exactly rocket science is it? Either in the articles or in the posts or both, people swear on this website. Got it? Unbelievable. I've said it before, I'll say it again: If you don't like Chinese food, don't move to China.

    And so if the greatest writers of our time, or orators or anyone who had something profound to say over the course of some hours, dropped one swear word in, you'd discount the whole thing?


    Happy to say Country but not Cynt.

    Happy to say Foccacia but not Fuck.

    Happy to say Flush it,/Push it/Smash it but not Shit.

    Utterly pathetic. Go to and live a happy life but leave the rest of us alone. We do after all, live in a *society*.


    Dear BBC,

    I'd like to complain in the strongest possible terms about the theme-tune to Eastenders. I hate that music yet when I tuned in today, again, at the usual time, as I do every day, I still had to endure that awful song.

    Yours, like a hamster, in a cage,

    Jonathan Fuckspastic


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