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Amazon S3 Adds Option To Make Data Accessors Pay

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the by-the-byte dept.

Software 80

CWmike writes "Amazon.com has rolled out a new option for its Simple Storage Service (S3) that lets data owners shift the cost of accessing their information to users. Until now, individuals or businesses with information stored on S3 had to pay data-transfer costs to Amazon when others made use of the information. Amazon said the new Requester Pays option relieves data providers of that burden, leaving them to pay only the basic storage fees for the cloud computing service. The bigger question with the cloud is, who really pays? Mark Everett Hall argues that IT workers do."

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wah? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26337465)

fp?

10,000 Years of Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26337755)

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No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.
Nothing valued is here.
This post is a troll and part of a system of trolls.
Pay attention to it!
Sending this message was important to us.
We consider ourselves to be a powerful culture.

Fap Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26337473)

Fap Fap Fap

Whew (1, Insightful)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337515)

Well thats a relief, I'd hate to know (in these economic times) that some information could not be retrieved because of inability to pay the transfer fees, and not, in my opinion, the more important cost of storage size.

The only way this could be a loss to amazon is if somebody stores a ton of stuff (say, gigs and gigs of videos) and after initially storing it sits on it and transfers continuously without paying for more space. Other than that, I consider this a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense.

Re:Whew (2, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337627)

Depending on the popularity of a piece of data, I could easily see the cost of transfer being much higher over time than the cost of storage. After all, once you have stored your 1GB file on their servers, with a fixed asset cost for that 1GB likely 1$, and then it gets accessed by a couple people a day for a year or so. I'd be willing to bet that the cost of moving the data around would be signifigantly larger than the cost of keeping it stored.

Re:Whew (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337827)

Yes, hence the second paragraph. I was actually posting from a consumer standpoint since I am shopping around for some data storage, myself.

Re:Whew (2, Informative)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338151)

S3 (a developer platform) coupled with a consumer front end (such as JungleDisk which works on Win/OS X/Lin) makes a great storage/backup solution. With JungleDisk's ability to keep old versions and deleted versions for a specified interval, you don't even have to worry so much that your only backup solution is mirroring (as you'll be able to recover point in time with a little effort). It's great for personal use in this sense.

JungleDisk can even encrypt your files before uploading them, and transparently decrypt them when you retrieve them (3des I believe, with a user-provided private key), so there's no worry about their contents being snooped on by Amazon or overzealous LEO's.

I use this as one of my tiers for backing up my photography and music library (about 43 gig of photography and 30 gig of music). Monthly billing from Amazon is per gb, and it's something really reasonable like $0.16/gb/mo. My billing comes out to under $17 (I've got some other stuff in there too, but the photos and the music would be the hardest to replace).

Re:Whew (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338569)

That seems like a lot of money to me. Wouldn't buying a couple of terabyte drives ($100 each) and cycling them as the off site backup be much cheaper? Maybe you're paying for the convenience though.

Re:Whew (2, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26339085)

Convenience of access from anywhere (only needing to install the client if I really needed access to a file from a remote location), plus the convenience of effort-free off-site backup.

$16/mo to safely and effortlessly back up 8 years of photography seems like an incredibly good deal to me. I pay way the heck more than this for my homeowner's insurance, and this is just another form of personal property insurance. The only monthly bill that regularly falls under this dollar amount, in fact, is my credit cards, mostly because they're an emergency tool only for me. Everything else costs more. Land line, cell phone, TV service, electric, gas, security system, etc - all much more than this, and I'd be way less devastated if any of these services were lost.

GP said he was shopping for storage, and I recommended a reliable, fast, easy, convenient, and inexpensive option =). A common lament from people who have lost their house and all their possessions in a fire is that they cannot get back their photographs. Everything else they can eventually (assuming no deaths), but the photos are gone forever. And the point is you pay per usage. $0.15 (rates have gone down since I signed up for this apparently) per gb per month is a good rate IMO.

I have a local NAS box w/ redundant disks too. That NAS also backs itself up to external USB disks. I work locally, and back up to the NAS automatically at night. It backs itself up automatically the following night (it runs a few hours before my desktop->NAS backup) giving me 2 days local recovery time, plus 7 more days (how I have it configured in JungleDisk) online should I accidentally delete or corrupt something. Plus in the event of a catastrophic failure (house fire, massive power surge, etc), I have the online backup I can fall back on.

FWIW, I've not found inexpensive external drives to be even remotely reliable as a backup. $100 1TB drives (or similarly discounted drives) have a ridiculously high failure rate. Good if you're transferring some files to a buddy, but a really bad idea as a backup solution. Those things tend to fail as a brick. The whole device just quits some day leaving your data trapped, maybe there, maybe not. Maybe reported writing successfully when it didn't. Maybe it wrote successfully, just can't be read again. That's the sort of drive my NAS backs itself up to, and by this point I've replaced enough of those that I really should have bought better ones out the gate, it would have been cheaper.

Re:Whew (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26340209)

Jungledisk was bought by Rackspace. I wouldn't go near Rackspace with my website, much less a backup of my personal data. They know how to keep data safe like a cat knows to keep milk safe. And they are the industry standard in shitty customer service.

Re:Whew (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26341545)

JungleDisk stores data on Amazon's S3 servers, not RackSpace's.

Re:Whew (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26342307)

JungleDisk stores data on Amazon's S3 servers, not RackSpace's.

What difference does that make? I still have to trust Rackspace, which I don't. For that matter, had Microsoft purchased Jungledisk but continued to use Amazon's S3 servers, would you still use Jungledisk? Rackspace is worse than Microsoft in security (not an issue for encrypted data), reliability, and in customer service.

Re:Whew (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26343685)

I wouldn't use JD if it was storing on or went through RackSpace's servers - I dislike them for probably the same reasons as you.

However JD predated RackSpace's acquisition. Being owned by a crappy corporation doesn't retroactively make their software suck. If it were owned by Microsoft, I'd make sure I had a good copy of the current software version which I could keep around because I'd assume that future versions were about to suck.

JD stores the data in your Amazon S3 account, not one of theirs. Rackspace couldn't get access to this information if they wanted it unless Amazon was cooperating in some way, and even then it's encrypted with a key you provide. The monthly fees go to Amazon, not to JD, which is a one-time purchase.

I'm having a hard time, even believing RackSpace is a shoddy corporation, finding a reason that this plays a role in making software they own - but which was not developed by or for them - into a bad decision; they're entirely out of the loop except that they receive future profits (notably I had a license before RackSpace acquired them, so I made the original developers a little better off, and not even RackSpace).

To boot, there's a free version such that you don't even have to give RackSpace any money at all, and you still get access to your files. If you're concerned that future versions will suck, make sure you keep a copy of the current installer around.

Re:Whew (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26348813)

We're a hosting company that backs up hundreds of TB of data to Amazon S3. We were using JungleDisk. After they were acquired, we rolled our own replacement. Just like the sun has risen in the east for as long as the Earth has been around, almost all companies go to hell once they've been acquired by a large, shoddy corporation.

I just hacked my own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26340601)

cut out the middleman, no need for jungledisk. I just hacked my own on-line backup solution.
There's some nice toolkits available. I used jets3t (see https://jets3t.dev.java.net/ [java.net] ).

1. Create a list of files to backup,
2. compare list of checksums of these files with the ones on-line (stored in the S3 meta-data)
3. upload changed files
4. done

I'm currently at 0.22$ per month for about 4 GB of data.

Re:Whew (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26340959)

After reviewing a number of options (Mozy, Crashplan, etc.) I ended up with JungleDisk too. I don't care about my music library, but I do have a photo library similar to yours -- just about 41gb. JungleDisk does incremental backups (only files that have changed) and can be configured to save X number of old versions for you. If you add their JungleDisk Plus service ($1/month) you get block-level and resumable backups, and web access to the files. But the thing that really sold me on JungleDisk was the bandwidth throttling -- during the day I could set it to something small (say 200kbps) so everyone else in the house can still do what they want online, while at night it has no limits.

I use local backups too, but for ten years of valuable photographs, I want offsite storage too, and this is more convenient than cycling drives or tapes offline. I'm not thrilled that Rackspace bought them, but at least JungleDisk is just software, and uses Amazon/S3 instead of Rackspace's servers.

Re:Whew (1)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26341747)

I think I would rather get 1TB for $100 or even 500 GB for around $50 per month and not have those $17 per month charges (based on your numbers)...with the 500 GB drive you would be ahead of the game in less than 5 months.

With the external USB hard disks you could buy two and rotate one of them off site periodically.

Plus with this solution, your data is as secure as the place you lock it up and store it. Definitely more secure than any online source.

Re:Whew (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26341903)

$100 1TB drives, and $50 500GB drives fail with amazing alacrity. These are a really bad backup solution. I have owned 4 such drives in the past year and a half or so. Only one still works. Their only good use is for file transfer when network transfer is out of the question (such as taking raw video footage from one location to another).

JungleDisk offers the option to encrypt your data before it is stored on S3. So it's secure in the sense that it can't be snooped upon by Amazon, Jungledisk, or LEO's unless you choose a bad password.

It's also automatically off-site every day. Not many home users will realistically do off-site backups even if they have the hardware to do so. Actually a lot of small and mid-sized businesses have "off-site" backup policies which they get lazy about after a few months too.

Anyway, as stated in a different reply of mine in this same thread, GP post said he was looking for online storage, and I provided what I found to be a cost effective, reliable, convenient solution to this. If you're looking for local storage, buy a network SAN; they have them as stand-alone devices with redundant hot-swappable disks now. This is my primary backup, and my JungleDisk/S3 is my offsite.

Plus $16 and change (just got my billing statement, $16.14 this month) is the cheapest form of insurance I currently own. Car, house, etc all costs a lot more than $0.50/day, and since it's usage based, how much you have to protect determines how much you pay, and it's less than pretty much any other bill I have coming in at home, including for things I'd be way less devastated if they were lost.

Re:Whew (1)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26348051)

Good post(s) and I agree with you, sorry if it came across oddly or as an attack, that was not my intent. You did indeed provide a solution given the previous post. And I have enjoyed both your posts! I also have recorded this information for future reference on potential off site / online backup companies should anyone I know ever need that service.

$100 1TB drives, and $50 500GB drives fail with amazing alacrity. These are a really bad backup solution. I have owned 4 such drives in the past year and a half or so. Only one still works.

That is NOT what I want to hear, sounds like I have been lucky with my Seagate FreeAgent 500 GB, bought it last year and it is still running strong. I use it every day and move it from machine to machine only occasionally as I can copy files via my home network from servers to desktops as most would expect. Granted I use the USB option, not the Firewire option (my FreeAgent has both bases, one USB and one Firewire), though that should not matter. I plan to start using Firewire when I start working with video more...I sure hope my experience is better than yours has been.

Thank you for the heads up, guess I better get a SAN and make sure I have backups before I do that just to be on the safe side.

If you're looking for local storage, buy a network SAN; they have them as stand-alone devices with redundant hot-swappable disks now. This is my primary backup

Very nice, I looked at those this last Christmas and plan to get one in the future!

It's also automatically off-site every day. Not many home users will realistically do off-site backups even if they have the hardware to do so. Actually a lot of small and mid-sized businesses have "off-site" backup policies which they get lazy about after a few months too.

Early in my 25+ year career I was a Computer Operator and part of my responsibility included putting 9 Track tapes on a cart, taking them to a car and moving them to another building on a nightly basis. (Ran batch and nightly backups on 5 IBM Mainframes 43xx, 30xx on my own nightly, if others were there, I had called them in because their jobs failed.) Great job, 3 12 hour days on, got paid for 40 hours each week and 4 days off. It was like having a vacation every week. I actually lived on the beach for almost a year 4 days a week and in the city for my job for 3 days a week. Wish more companies would do this as it really gives the employee a GREAT quality of life for those days you are off. In the days of higher gas prices it helps to only have to commute to/from work three times a week. But that is another topic isn't it.

Your statement is right on the money, people do get lazy, I have had off site storage in the past for myself and something always comes up where I delay getting the data off site for days, weeks and months on occasion. Different when it is part of your job, so you do it, but when you are doing it for yourself, it is very easy to get lazy!

Keep up the great posting!

Re:Whew (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26348769)

Since Amazon S3 has the native ability to be a torrent for your content stored there, I would think serving the content with Bittorrent would be better then having each person pay to access the data.

Using BitTorrent with Amazon S3

http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AmazonS3/latest/index.html?S3Torrent.html [amazonwebservices.com]

Re:Whew (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337741)

Well thats a relief, I'd hate to know (in these economic times) that some information could not be retrieved because of inability to pay the transfer fees, and not, in my opinion, the more important cost of storage size.

Try telling the guys running youtube that bandwidth costs don't matter.

Last I heard, their bandwidth costs are in the millions of dollars per month. I'm fairly confident they don't have a matching outlay for storage.

Re:Whew (1)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26341707)

They will soon have their own fiber and data centers....so they have been planning ahead.

I just hope they start offering internet access to the masses...fiber to my home, I want it!

Re:Whew (1)

adpowers (153922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338025)

Well, the storage cost per gigabyte-month is $0.15 and the storage cost for transferring a gigabyte outbound is $0.17, so if you download the stored data once per month then transfer is the dominant cost.(1)

Someone is always paying for the cost of storage and transfer. Before the person who owns the bucket would pay for both, but now they can make the accessor pay for the transfer. Amazon isn't offering either for free, so as long as they are making a marginal profit on storage and transfer, they aren't eating any loss.

(1) Both numbers are for the base tier.

Re:Whew (1)

anothersockpuppet (1445793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338509)

Mod parent up, he has a point.

About damn time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26342427)

Amazon S3 Adds Option To Make Data Accessors Pay

I'll make those data accessor bastards pay. Boy will they pay!

Cloud computing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26337517)

Back in my day, we called it hosting. That was what, oh, a year ago? And by the way, get off my lawn.

Re:Cloud computing? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338419)

Well RMS liked hosting. He doesn't like Cloud computing. That is the difference. Actually it is SaaS not cloud computing. I worked in a SaaS shop and we had no Clouds Unless we looked up (Our place did have nice skylights) We were just a hosting site. We just hosted more advanced software, then just the web server.

Hmmm, do we see a trend coming on? (5, Interesting)

mamono (706685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337539)

With advertising revenues dropping we could see this as a new trend for accessing content. Of course, many sites are popular because they are free so this would likely reduce traffic. I could see how this would be useful for a site like Fark, though, who already has a paying crowd.

Of course, the big users I can see are porn sites.

Re:Hmmm, do we see a trend coming on? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26348847)

If you wanted to charge people to view content, you'd use Amazon's DevPay system (a more complicated Paypal).

Regarding the "SaaS kills developers" article... (4, Insightful)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337571)

...I'm not sure how accurate that is. In my experience S3 and EC2 enable small companies to do things they might not otherwise hassle with.

The article also says "The glory days of the UNIX system administrator and the Java programmer are dead and buried". Really? From what I've seen, good Unix sysadmins are in high demand - whether the servers are in your colo rack or in a RackSpace facility, you still need someone to mind the farm and twiddle the Puppet [reductivelabs.com] manifests. Not sure about Java programmers, but demand for Ruby (especially Rails) programmers is quite high.

Re:Regarding the "SaaS kills developers" article.. (1)

kerohazel (913211) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337699)

That article manages to say so little in so many words, one of which is "leverage". When it does actually say something, it's just baseless "X is dead" statements.

On second thought, I guess that does say a lot, in its own way.

Re:Regarding the "SaaS kills developers" article.. (2, Insightful)

edsousa (1201831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337705)

It is not accurate. I think that laws of conservation of energy apply here.. If the companies won't develop and/or deploy in-house some software and use SaaS, the resources they don't need were used by others to provide the service.

"Intel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and their supply-chain partners in China need fewer engineers and assembly-line workers to design and build machines to run the packaged or custom apps"

WTF? Does Amazon et al run their services on abacuses?

And if companies want to get all they can from the service, they need IT people coz the sales&mgmt ppl won't do anything.

Re:Regarding the "SaaS kills developers" article.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338333)

Well there is a loss of energy that does apply in many ways.
Think of the job of a system administrator at a medium sized company. If he does his job well things run more or less by itself with planed maintenance, but for the most part one admin can keep 100-200 computers running smoothly but for the medium sized company he only needs to keep 50 operational. Then you have a SaaS company they may have 4 admins keeping track of 800 servers, and that is their full time job.

The same with electrical power 100 servers spread across many companies all running at an average of 5% utilization or 20 servers all running at an average of 25% utilization.

You have economy of scale going on. So not all people loss from a company going SaaS will go to a SaaS shop there will be a net loss in jobs from the IT sector.
That said, being that SaaS offers services at a price that was once unaffordable to small businesses it can lead to new businesses to grow and flurish and create new sectors of growth.

Re:Regarding the "SaaS kills developers" article.. (1)

emj (15659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338493)

The same with electrical power 100 servers spread across many companies all running at an average of 5% utilization or 20 servers all running at an average of 25% utilization.

This is never true, 5%*5 isn't 25% it might very well be 300%. Server load and in this case; batch job scheduling [wikipedia.org] are very hard to do right.

But sure there are "synergy effects", they are smaller than one might believe.

Re:Regarding the "SaaS kills developers" article.. (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338175)

If the author thinks that Saas hurts the economy by making developers obsolete, then he should asks himself whether computers, power tools, etc also hurt the economy by making certain jobs obsolete.

Re:Regarding the "SaaS kills developers" article.. (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338285)

Right. Who do you think is developing the programs that run on EC2? And who do you think is needed to manage the instances (VMs), or write software to manage them?

Adapt or die.

Payment Schemes (4, Insightful)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337591)

The problem of making web businesses profitable has been with us for a long time. Micropayments, internet dollars, memberships, the list of attempts is long - with some successes and a heck of a lot of failures. The number of sites saying "free for the first 3 months" is ridiculous. Then they try to charge and all their members go away. Nasty. Bad for business.

S3 is - basically - a tax on bytes. Maybe that's a way to go. But it would end up encouraging sites that move large amounts of data, instead of being useful and efficient. Not so good.

It's for sure we need some sort of reward mechanism to allow innovation to survive. At the moment all we have is advertising. This not enough - Google not withstanding. Heck, I turn them off .. so where is the revenue?

Any ideas?

Re:Payment Schemes (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338373)

S3 is - basically - a tax on bytes. Maybe that's a way to go. But it would end up encouraging sites that move large amounts of data, instead of being useful and efficient. Not so good.

If it uses too many bytes and that means the cost to the user is too high, then I think that would drive away users.

I really don't have an answer to how to keep good sites going. All the possibilities in use have significant drawbacks. Maybe the best option is "beggarware" where they ask for donations or tips. If people really care about a particular site, then you better hope that enough of them think it's worth a certain level of a donation to pool into something that's enough to keep the site going.

Re:Payment Schemes (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338429)

about 2% of web users are technically capable of turning ads off. Businesses with good presentation will continue to do fine hitting the other 98%.

Re:Payment Schemes (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338487)

And a fraction of who can turn of adds don't. Adds have never bugged me, I turned of popup blocking and for the most part that gets the annoying stuff out of the way. A banner add doesn't bug me so much, If that add is selling a legal legit product/service, then I am not to concerned about it. If I am interested in it I just may click on it, if not I ignore it. If these adds pay for the web service I am using then all the better.

we're supposed to cry foul? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26337641)

So let me get this straight. When coal miners lose their jobs because of changes in the energy industry, it's progress, and the onus should be on the workers to be flexible and learn new skills ... but when it happens in IT, we're supposed to cry foul? What I hope this *will* do, however, is raise expectations as far as the consistency and reliability of software goes. In the process we'd probably lose code monkeys, but not those who have invested in (and benefit from) a more rigorous education.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338059)

Rather, when IT people are writing about coal miners losing their jobs, it's progress; while when IT people are writing about IT people losing their jobs, it's pernicious.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (3, Interesting)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338865)

No, the IT guys who lose their jobs will most likely be those supporting commodity solutions that the average secretary is too lazy to figure out for herself. There is still going to be a huge need for local support and IT staff no matter what happens, because some things are just too damn important to trust outside of the organization, or too expensive to not do yourself.

Few, if any, companies are going to use an outside provider to hold their critical and/or proprietary data. There is no way in Hell, for example, that my Subversion repository will be stored anywhere but on a machine in my company, under my direct control, physically and logically - regardless of SLAs, encryption, or whatever else.

And I am most certainly not putting our accounting database anywhere that could possibly require a "rent payment" or external connection - if I lost access for 1 minute, we're out of business entirely. Or, what if it leaked out and competitors had access?

There is no possible way to make a cloud of untrusted machines substitute for locally owned, managed, and controlled systems.

For the love of God, managers don't even trust the geek in the cubes, what makes anyone think that they will trust a "cloud" with anything important?

Some managers have proprietary information that gives them an edge over the competition. Toss that out there? Some may even be Bernie Madoff, and those fucks aren't giving up any information.

A whole lot of IT will stay local just for security and paranoia reasons alone.

In short, clouds may expand what we do nowadays but they won't supplant anything.

Oh, and who is going to troubleshoot the loss of the Internet connection?

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (1)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26339341)

Clouds are just changing the location of the gear. It still requires someone who knows what to do with it. There is still an application to be developed, administered, and maintained. There are still connections to be managed, and there are still users who just don't 'get' data.

I'm not worried about my job. I'll have to keep on learning, but guess what? That's what I like to do.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26340585)

And I am most certainly not putting our accounting database anywhere that could possibly require a "rent payment" or external connection - if I lost access for 1 minute, we're out of business entirely.

Then you're doing something wrong. Like perhaps not having a hot spare or something similar.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (2, Funny)

PlainWhiteTrash (1012235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26340533)

I love that word pernicious... I've started naming all my servers after nasty p-words. pernicious, persnickety, pugnacious...

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (1)

Patik (584959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338343)

So let me get this straight. When coal miners lose their jobs because of changes in the energy industry, it's progress, and the onus should be on the workers to be flexible and learn new skills ... but when it happens in IT, we're supposed to cry foul?

Coal mining is old technology and something new has come along to potentially replace it in its industry. There's no new technology to replace today's IT, therefore these workers who are being laid off are at the forefront and their laying off cannot be called progress.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338393)

Here is a post from the futute...
Local IT is old technology and something new has come along to potentially replace it in its industry. There's no new technology to replace today's SaaS, therefor these workers who are being laid off are at the forefront and they laying off cannot be called progress.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26339047)

SaaS? Oh right, the future is this: we're going to be nickled and dimed for every time we want to access our data. Yes, swell idea.

What next, instead of selling chalkboards, chalkboard vendors will collude and only lease them out to protect their precious property, which will make chalkboards more affordable to us with their monthly payments, and we will all fall for it too! Right...

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26339259)

In order to access my data, I have to pay the electricity bill at the end of the month.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26339347)

You are not paying for accessing your data. For most SaaS places you can get all you data anytime you want. You are paying for people to keep you data safe, in order and to do calculations and give you new data and value from your data. There isn't anything stopping you from having a local backup of your data or save the file twice once threw the SaaS and once to your own drive.

It isn't selling the calk board it is selling the teacher or the analysis who can take that data on it and make it useful for you, and pay for the person to make records of what was on the chalk board and get it back, at your request.

Paying money for a service isn't a bad thing, that you make it sound. Even if you buy software and run it. You need to pay people to keep it running.
But for your chalkboard example is kinda flawed because maintenance of chalkboard is relatively low, almost everyone know to use the eraser to whip off the old text, as it is part of normal use, Secondly the board is static and lasts a long time, 20 years for a chalkboard isn't to far ponder. SaaS will be closer to paying montly payments to lease the board will make sense if those payments are less or equal to or near equal too the price of buying it, with a full warrantee and you can get a new one once it scratches or when the new whiteboard comes out you can get that instead, also there is a guy with a sponge who cleans the board once a weak for you when you don't need the data on it. So a SaaS chalkboard would be a good idea.

You assume that everyone is trying to scam you. You need to be a better consumer and really work out what you get what the tradeoffs are. And setup your contract accordingly. If you want your data make sure before you go with SaaS for you service that you have a clause that you can retrieve your data in a readable format when ever you request. I use to work for a SaaS shop. When a customer left and wanted their data we gave it to them at no cost... It was their data.

Re:we're supposed to cry foul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26343013)

Basic principles of economics dictate that less expense (IT salaries) results in more profit which results in more competition which results in both cheaper goods and more efficient means to produce the same goods.

And how do these more efficient means come about?

By achieving new efficiencies. Some of these new efficiencies will be gained via IT initiatives.

So basically the efficiency improvements that wipe out IT jobs will generate the resources necessary to create the new IT jobs required to compete.

The author seems to possess the mental agility of a small soap dish by ignoring this very basic concept.

Not buying it - not worried (3, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337661)

Mark Everett Hall really looks at things from a biased IT perspective. Yes, in his analysis, this will hurt US as IT professionals, but we do not constitute the entire economy. In fact, when businesses get leaner the economy gets better on a macro scale. Yeah, we could be hurting, but that doesn't mean the economy will be.

And that, of course, is assuming you buy the thesis that people will move into this and fire their IT staff all in 2009 - here's a clue: they won't.

And IF they did, what do you think us highly skilled laborers would be working on? My guess is cloud computing - those things don't code, administer or test themselves. Truly, looking on the bright side, one can visualize all IT effort being concerted into one specific area, hastening the arrival of new innovations - but I'm of the opinion that that analysis goes too far the other way.

My bet, the pendulum will continue on its slow course back to dumber clients and smarter servers, but it's not going to change anything in major way overnight, or over 2009.

Re:Not buying it - not worried (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337783)

Mark Everett Hall really looks at things from a biased IT perspective. Yes, in his analysis, this will hurt US as IT professionals,

His "analysis" assumes the amount of work to be done is constant, which doesn't seem reasonable. It also assumes that SaaS applications are much better substitutes for custom apps than COTS software is, which also doesn't seem reasonable.

You Insensitive Clods! (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337771)

Nobody wants to look at the data I've stored. Not even myself.

Re:You Insensitive Clods! (4, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26337821)

I think you mean, "you insensitive clouds."

In Soviet Russia... (1)

I'm not a script, da (638454) | more than 5 years ago | (#26340113)

...clouds insensitive to you!

Great Business Models 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26338027)

This is a great model, since the consumer can pay for the product, pay for delivery of the product, and pay again for the internet connection, any extra "overage" of their byte-cap that they incur.

Explain how this works out in favor of customers?

Oh, thats right, customers exist just as "revenue generating units", to hell with providing them value.

Unless it's p0rn (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338203)

Amazon said the new Requester Pays option relieves data providers of that burden, leaving them to pay only the basic storage fees for the cloud computing service.

Unless that data is mountains of scalding hot porn, I don't think they're going to make much money.

This seems doomed. (0)

JavaBasedOS (1217930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338207)

Wouldn't the decreasing cost of space (i.e Moore's Law) mean that eventually that their business market would be doomed, or would it mean that they're going to get away with making more money as more space becomes more cheaply available? The going price of a 500GB Seagate internal HD seems to be well between USD53.35 to USD176.00 [google.com] .

Granted that I should know better than to use Google as a reliable source of information; that means the cost/GB ranges anywhere between USD00.11 and USD00.36. I'm a bit too lazy to calculate the set mean and the set standard deviation, but it would come out to be just about equal (in cost) to using this new "cloud" or just a bit more expensive (by a couple cents). However, in the long run, it would be much cheaper to just buy a hard drive. I don't know who they're trying to fleece, really.

Re:This seems doomed. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338463)

Probably people who care about backups. As you note, the cost of storing one copy of a given piece of data on a consumer grade hardware gets closer to nothing every day. If you fancy having your data available when that drive starts making noises like a cat in plate mail, though it will still cost you.

Hey the world is changing... Stop It! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338215)

Boo Hoo, SaaS and Outsourcing are taking our jobs. It is only threatening because it is change in the status quo.
Lets take a look at the 1970's 1980's and 1990's. IT was a great place to work in, New innovative stuff, a pioneer in the future... and the fact that your job as an IT guy probably within a half a decade replaced the work of a dozen people. These were the heyday of our economy, what happened to those dozen people who's job your replaced... Did they all become programmers or system admins... No. Did they all go to the streets begging for money... No. They moved on some retired (Just as IT guys today are, like the ones who started the the 70's and early 80's) Others being forced with change and out of their comfort zone got new jobs doing different things, things that a computer can't do, but perhaps because of the computer it is affordable to hire people to do these things. The computer released many people from the hum drum monotonous jobs, and placed them in jobs where either they had to be more physical, or smarter. Who care about wasting month of crunching number to find sales statistics, Now you can get a computer to do that and it opens up the job as a business analysis who can run huge data sets of stats in 5-50 minutes. Then using his brain and intuition make heads or tails out of the data, determine when causation creates correlation and when it doesn't. Seeing these numbers make decisions to improve these numbers. A computer still isn't smart enough to make these good judgement calls. If a computer was ruling things I would outlaw tatoo's because it increases the chances in getting into a car accident.

So now we are in a new generation IT jobs are now the hum drum jobs we can share information so easily that we no longer need to hire a guy full time to stare at the activity monitor of the server and fix it when something gets out of whack. We can get a SaaS service where there are teams of people looking at 1000's of peoples servers and fixing them when they get out of whack and doing it for cheaper without hardware overhead. It is more efficient, economical, and probably environmental (100 different servers all running at 5% capacity, vs. 25 servers at a SaaS shop running at 25% capacity). But now we IT workers who took the job of millions of people are now going Boo Hoo because there is a new innovation which makes our jobs redundant or useless, just as we did 20-30 years ago.
So what do we do now... We cant all go work at a SaaS shop. There will still be needs for Higher Level IT Workers, or many organizations. But for the rest of us, who now are in hard times we need to innovate and expand beyond what we are comfortable with. How can you use SaaS to your own advantage, now as a small business you can get high quality services without having to hire more IT workers. So now you can go and find your niche doing a job and charging rates lower then the competitors because you have mastered SaaS before them. Or offering services that wasn't feasible before.
Inovation breads more inovation. Change is hard, hard times bring change. You can either just cry about it and fight it and loose and become outdated. Or you can embrace it and expand yourself to a new level.

Re:Hey the world is changing... Stop It! (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338989)

"So what do we do now... We cant all go work at a SaaS shop"

We keep innovating, and designing and supporting BETTER services on top of those new, commoditized ones.

I don't have to worry about wasting time on VM infrastructure and SANS because I can use AWS now? Fantastic - I can get the team working on something more interesting to get a leg up on the competition.

Re:Hey the world is changing... Stop It! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26341709)

I am not sure if you were being sarcastic or not. It sound like a good idea to me. However you must realize a lot of the people who were VM and SANS experts are not necessarily good at the more interesting things to leg up on the competition. So you may need to get rid of those guys and get new one, if they are unwilling to change and modernize.

Duh - it's called increasing productivity (5, Interesting)

putaro (235078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338257)

As we consume more IT resources the number of workers per resource unit has to fall - or we're going to wind up spending our entire budget on IT. The question for IT workers is whether the amount of IT workers has peaked or not. I don't think it has yet.

The first computer I worked with was a PDP 11/70. Less than 1 MIP and we had a dedicated operator. By that measure my laptop needs several thousand support personnel.

However, we spent close to $500,000 (in 1981 dollars) for that system. It supported 32 terminals. Today, I could put together 32 desktops plus a server system for less than $100,000 but would probably still want to have a dedicated IT support person for that many desktops (given that it's a small company and that's all of our IT infrastructure - larger companies get by with fewer desktop support people due to economies of scale).

My wife worked at Oracle here in Japan for a while. The director of the Oracle certificate program once set a long term goal of, I think, 5 million certified Oracle DBA's in Japan. Now, Japan has a total population of about 128 million so he was setting a goal of 4 out of every 100 people to be Oracle DBA's. Absolutely ludicrous.

Personnel are now the largest cost in IT. Anything that reduces IT costs will be reducing personnel costs. The real question is whether the IT budget overall is shrinking or growing.

The interesting long term question is whether IT will mature like power or plumbing to the point where an average company does not keep IT specialists on staff but just calls them in as needed. I would argue that it is different since IT done properly is a strategic asset customized to your company somehow but time will tell.

Re:Duh - it's called increasing productivity (1)

lamapper (1343009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26341821)

As we consume more IT resources the number of workers per resource unit has to fall - or we're going to wind up spending our entire budget on IT. The question for IT workers is whether the amount of IT workers has peaked or not. I don't think it has yet.

Do you include your software and hardware licensing costs in your IT budget. While I think everyone should, I worked for a telco that, when looking at budget for new projects, did not include the mainframe hardware, software and yearly maintenance costs, as "its already paid for..." their words, not mine.

I wonder how many companies are finally looking at their ever increasing server and software costs and switching to open source to reduce that portion of their IT budget?

If I was in charge, you can bet I would be looking there...

so should we code in assembler 386? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26338347)

By the arguments presented in that article, SaaS is a threat to IT workers because it is an improvement. Surely then, optimal employment would occur only when we only code in assembler on the slowest processors we can find. That way, companies will have to spend billions on hardware in order get the performance they need, and the slow pace of development will keep tons of developers employed.

When it rains? (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338681)

Just once, I want to ask someone in charge of a large company's "cloud services" or something what happens when it rains, just so I can see the mortified look on his face and watch the colour drain away before he runs out of the room screaming something about umbrellas and airship water tanks.

Re:When it rains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26338995)

Managing risk with cloud computing is no different than any other means to compute/store stuff.

 

CW Story is a Joke (1)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338775)

I love the ridiculous claims of the CW story and how it's going to hurt the IT economy. The entirety of IT exists because it introduces efficiencies that reduce labor costs. We didn't cry when our fancy computers put filing clerks out of a job? Or when the internet put message couriers out of a job? If anyone should have learned to not fear efficiency it should be IT workers. Someone has to run and engineer the cloud, someone will still need to connect the users to the cloud, etc. If you think you can work in IT, and do the same thing for your entire career, you are a fool. In the same way that broadband allowed the net to offer services we never would have dreamed of in the days of 56k, it's very possible that these services will allow the role of IT to expand in new ways, and be even MORE important to businesses. If your really scared of the big bad cloud, learn the skills needed to become a specialist in helping businesses transition to cloud based services.

Then again, maybe you got comfortable in your current position, and sat on your laurels, and some engineers with bigger ideas and superior skills just reduced your job to a very simple script.

Well (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26338957)

Contrary to the "saas is bad because everyone outsources and doens't hire developers" statement linked...

1) Why should companies hire IT workers to do the same job they can do more economically with SAAS if it meets their needs?

2) If hiring local workers leads to better products and services for your company, then inevitably those businesses who want to rise above will pay for local developers.

3) Who do you think builds and maintains "software as a service?" - developers

Amazon is getting to be a little greedy. (1)

Darkk (1296127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26339487)

Amazon is getting to be a little greedy.

I think www.crashplan.com is better option for me as I can use a buddy system. Basically what it means I can use my buddy's hard drive across the country to story my data free of charge. I just pay for the license of the software and I am free to do whatever I want.

402 - Payment Required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26341089)

So, we will start seeing 402 errors [w3.org] now?

Thanks for the music (1)

MrTester (860336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26342503)

I, for one, would like to thank CWmike for giving me a link to a site that immediately begins playing loud music. I LOVE that and, more importantly, my co workers love it to.

Thank you.

This sounds familiar... (1)

Starsmore (788910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344751)

S3... I've heard that before... and it didn't bode well....

Oh yeah! The Solid Snake System! That was a great.... oh shit.

Or BitTorrent (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26347625)

Any public S3 object can also be accessed as a BitTorrent, which is another way to mitigate high bandwidth charges on large, popular files.

Obviously, it's going to be difficult to allow folks to access the .torrent but not access the original file, but using long random names for things would probably work.

Amazon is not greedy, it's capitalism, man (1)

JavaGenosse (1174861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26412971)

Amazon is not greedy, it's capitalism, man. Companies, that do business in cloud just have leverage to offset costs partially to the client. Our company is planning to discuss this at coming Cloud Computing Conference 2009, keep tuned - http://www.cloudslam09.com/ [cloudslam09.com]
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