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Cloud Computing

2010-05-05 04:53:43.607928+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Tweet of the moment:

RT @DougHed: @GordiansKnot Cloud computing is quickly becoming the "what the hell were you thinking when you slept with her?" of the 2010s

The iPad is really a cloud computing device, and Facebook and similar organizations are all pushing for ways to own your data in the interests of convenience, but just as the original microcomputer revolution occurred because people wanted control over their computing facilities, taking those capabilities away from the centralized IT services, and just as Amazon's cloud computing is now handy because it lets people experiment with server services without having to beg for root on a machine provisioned by those centralized IT services, I think there'll come another time before too long when we start to have second thoughts about outsourcing everything of value to Google and Facebook and Amazon and Apple and their ilk.

[ related topics: Apple Computer Books ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-05 12:49:14.521907+00 by: ebradway

Or maybe there'll come a time when people will ask: "Why the heck do you have a server in your closet/home/office?"

I view the "cloud" as a balance between control and responsibility (or effort). I recently spent the better part of two weeks trying to get Oracle running on a Linux box. It turned out that one of my installer files was corrupted. And I was working on other stuff simultaneously... But I then found the Amazon AMI for Oracle 11g. It took about 15 minutes to spool up an EC2 instance with Oracle running. I would have loved to have the time back that I wasted on my own install.

A decade ago, I kept my own server plugged into the 'Net at Chattanooga Online. It was great fun to know I could do anything I wanted. In many ways, it spoiled me because now I get very annoyed when I can't do something because of security reasons. Of course, when I was at McKee Foods, I learned how much you can do in user space in Unix. There was very little I couldn't do (usually what I couldn't do was assign services to ports below 1000). Now I use BlueHost. I get aggravated sometimes but I also really like the fact that I don't ever need to think about configuring sendmail (or postfix) again - much less deal with a hard drive crash on a Friday night.

Part of this balance, hopefully, is an understanding of where CPU power should be applied. I think Apple is getting this right. The human-computer interface is a real-time task. And there are some tasks that should be tied to CPU interrupts. One of the things I hate about my BlackBerry is that it occasionally decides it needs to update something and I get a spinny hourglass when I'm trying to make a call. I got this once when I mis-dialed a number. The thing wouldn't let me hang up!

But there's another balancing equation - server-side computing vs. local... Google is really a vandgaurd here. Arguably, they have more server capacity than any other entity on the planet and yet, they created Chrome because the client- side environment sucked so bad. I've spent time harping about the evil that is the OGC WPS spec. ESRI loves to tout their ArcServer's</ A> ability to run complex geoprocessing on the server for web clients. But if you look at their server-load estimates, ESRI themselves point out that beyond about eight simultaneous users, performance drops below "acceptable" levels. Note that is eight (8), not 800 or 8000 or 8000000 users. Earthquake.usgs.gov sees about 250,000 hits per second following a major quake. There's no way that site can provide dynamic content if it's running on the server.

It's a simple equation: if you have 100,000 users, the server would have to be 100,000 times faster than the clients' computers to reach equilibrium.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-06 01:18:11.868483+00 by: meuon [edit history]

8 clients/users.. Ouch. I barely understand the amount of math/cpu load going on, on.. and I assume that's on a NICE server. But OUCH!

[UF Rack]

Utiliflex just bought a "cloud".. slightly used top end hardware. XX drives of raid with SAN, plus multiple servers with internal raid, 3+ghz dual CPU's.. etc.. complete with UPS's just so we can play with such things. In-house. Partially because there is good reasons to use those processes in-house and keep those skills up. partially for the "blinky light effect", and partially so we can support customers who need to do it, in-house.

That's part of our play room to the right, I'll post nice pics when it's all properly in place and online. We'll be using Ubuntu's cloud server system first.. which is actually Eucalyptus, a private cloud.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-05-07 19:15:54.987247+00 by: TC [edit history]

Idunno maybe I'm fully curmudgeonized but I take comfort in knowing I have physical possession of my "stuff" and knowing I can break a physical link. I think we are going to see some really squirrly lawsuits over ownership, search, liability over intermingling bits of stuff in the cloud(s). If you don't use you iPad for cloud interfacing you can always shred it http://holykaw.alltop.com/ipad-skateboard-or- both-video