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Researchers Critique Today's Cloud Computing

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-silver-lining dept.

The Internet 63

Red Leader. writes "MAYA Design just released an excerpt from one of their forthcoming books as a white paper. The paper offers a different perspective on cloud computing. Their view is that cloud computing, as currently described, is not that far off from the sort of thinking that drove the economic downturn. In effect, both situations allowed radical experiments to be performed by gigantic, non-redundant entities (PDF). This is dangerous, and the paper argues that we should insist on decentralized, massively-parallel venues until we understand a domain very, very well. In the information economy, this means net equality, information liquidity, and radically distributed services (and that's pretty much the opposite of 'cloud computing' as described today). While there is still hope for computing in the cloud, it's hard not to wonder if short-term profits, a lack of architectural thinking about security and resilience, and long-term myopia aren't leading us in the wrong direction."

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Hackers. (0, Redundant)

hikaricore (1081299) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710995)

Was the best movie of all time.

Re:Hackers. (0, Troll)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711043)

mumble, mumble, "the net"...

Re:Hackers. (0, Troll)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711075)

mumble, "firewall"...

Re:Hackers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711379)

mumble, "goatse"...

Tech Has Been Corrupted By Big Business (1)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 5 years ago | (#27710997)

can someone tag "goodluckwiththat" please?

You're an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711049)

Tech thrives thanks to "Big Business", or do you consider IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Sun, etc to be small businesses?

Without "Big Business" you wouldn't be able to use Slashdot.

ponzi cloud? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711005)

"...decentralized, massively-parallel venues until..." until its possible to slice, dice and securitize the cloud as investment opportunities. Oh wait...

Re:ponzi cloud? (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27721233)

Closer to the truth than you think. The entity that ends up either controlling or corrupting such a "cloud" wins, hands down. Unlimited access to everybody's plans, secrets, and even dirty little secrets - especially the dirty little secrets...I can think of a number of governments and corporations that must be positively drooling at the prospect.

Researchers discover 'cloud' means multiple things (5, Insightful)

RichardDeVries (961583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711035)

The article really is about how the term cloud computing as it is used now, is different from how the researchers used it in the nineties.

As you've seen, today's cloud computing is not at all the same thing as our vision of the P2P cloud

I don't use the term at all. Putting thinks like network storage, Amazon's EC2, Google Docs and del.icio.us together is non-sensical. Yes, 'cloud computing' is a buzzword. I knew that. Maya's vision for a true P2P information network is nice though, albeit somewhat too idealistic.

Re:Researchers discover 'cloud' means multiple thi (2, Insightful)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711111)

I totally agree. If you host your servers in one datacenter (cloud) you chose that one and not an other one. And if that datacenter brakes down, you have a problem. Same with clouds.

The article says a cloud works the same as a normal cloent-server application. On the otside that is true, but one dig difference is it should (if the application is desishould well) scale rather nicely.

Example: There is a website that compares different ideas of different parties and with a couple of questions it tells you that party is the closest to your idead (that is nice when you have 20 parties to choose from in the upcoming EU elections) But such an application probably has high traffic probably 2 months every four years. Then you pump up the number of servers and after the elections you reduce to one or two again. No costs of buying hardware and all the stuff.

Coming back to your point (and that of the paper): you pick one cloud to host your application and then why would you want to be able to communicate with different clouds???

Re:Researchers discover 'cloud' means multiple thi (4, Interesting)

Decado (207907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711275)

What puzzles me though is that the article tries to argue that on one hand the cloud concept is no different from client-server as it stands but on the other that the problem is the lack of interoperability.

A random Microsoft server can no more interoperate with a random Oracle or Apple server than a cloud service can so exactly how is it worse?

I also think the term cloud computing is just a bit jumbled. I think of it as the Amazon model, you basically design your server as a VM and then multiple copies of that get instanced as needed. The strange thing is that model is far more vendor neutral than anything currently on the market. In theory there is no reason why any company with the hardware resources can't fire up 1000 copies of that VM if you choose to change vendor. In effect cloud computing by that definition (which I believe is the most common) is no different than leasing servers from a hosting service at present, it just scales a lot easier if you need to.

The economic comparison is equally false. If for example Amazon were to oversell their hardware by 10% then all that happens is the sites they host end up running a bit slowly and people move off the service. The whole company doesn't end up in negative equity and going broke because of that. That metaphor just seems so wrong in this situation that it pretty much makes no sense.

If we were seeing a situation where web hosting and data center companies were merging wholesale while pursuing shaky business models then you could argue that there was a comparison but we are not. Cloud computing is a technical development, and until we see huge companies hosting the entire internet there is no real risk.

I agree the analogy is poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27716959)

There is a world of difference between speculative markets and reactive markets. If there isn't demand in a "cloud computing" market, why would I want to sell a service?

In speculative markets, your failure to accurately appraise demand isn't corrected continually, leading to increasing risk with longer timespans. The reverse is true when you can measure real demand.

Re:Researchers discover 'cloud' means multiple thi (4, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711307)

Not it is not the same with clouds and that was the researchers point. The term "Cloud" should not be a marketing buzzword for scalable. There should not be multiple "Clouds". The entire point of the Cloud as they refer to it was that it was amorphous and ubiquitous. One of their nicest points is that you slap a brand name on it then it is no longer the Cloud.

The current crop of so-called "Cloud" services (like Amazon) are a decent enough attempt to provide this type of platform, but provides a highly redundant platform as a single point of failure is not the same thing as removing the single point of failure. Amazon's platform can still fall over (and did for several hours earlier this year). In real Cloud computing that would not be an issue because rather than being tied to Amazons servers / datacenter you could execute your code anywhere that provided the service.

One of the problems with the real Cloud of the 90s was that it became too successful. So now we don't see it anymore. The architecture of the lower levels of the internet is now firmly entrenched: tcp/ip, dns etc. That is the real Cloud, a platform that we can write code for that really is ubiquitous. Services like Amazon are a logical progression of that platform, but they are not the logical endpoint. When there is a standardised API for code that will run on any of the major providers, accessing storage from any of the major providers, and able to replicate across them at will (chasing the cheapest prices) then the Cloud will really have arrived.

Finally, just to answer your question in a more concrete and exact way:

Coming back to your point (and that of the paper): you pick one cloud to host your application and then why would you want to be able to communicate with different clouds???

It's important to drill through the marketing buzzwords that the paper is rallying against. By definition there are no multiple clouds. So really what you are asking is why should I want to talk to different providers within the same Cloud?

Resilience. Partly to avoid downtime, partly to avoid vendor lockin. If I develop my application for EC2 and then Amazon decide to get out of the scalable computing business - I'm screwed. It's a similar situation to the drm-locked media where the license servers shut down after the company stopped selling it.

Another reason - competition. If I can move my application between Google and Amazon at will then I will pay the cheapest price for my cycles. If I have to recode my application to redeploy it then it will require a huge price differential before I do that.

Re:Researchers discover 'cloud' means multiple thi (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711773)

Marketing guys should rather than talk about Smoke Computing for a real buzz.

Good luck with that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27713523)

The marketplace and academia are not using "cloud" in the sense of only one ubiquitous cloud. They are simply using it for hand-wavy amorphous distributed services, exactly where the architecture diagrams would have a cloud-shaped bubble in the middle before.

The Grid community attempted (and failed) to promote an idea of "The Grid", briefly interlinking the majority of high-performance computing centers on the planet, and it too got corrupted into "a grid" being applied to essentially any small clustering of resources with no interoperability between them.

The business interest and even many funded academic interests proved that their nature is to resist real standardization. "Product differentiation" and "lock-in" trumped systemic efficiency and interoperability.

Re:Researchers discover 'cloud' means multiple thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848857)

It's interesting how "cloud" terminology gets bandied about by people just to make themselves look hip. It's still early days and there are a number of models being considered/developed, with Google, MSFT, Cisco, HP, Amazon, and now even Oracle as potential drivers of these models. Having said this, I heard a decent podcast on Cisco's website that tries to explain the various models for cloud that doesn't necessarily spout Cisco's usual marketing BS. The link is below.

http://www.cisco.com/cdc_content_elements/podcast/012009_91512_sPuopolo.mp3

I don't understand. I must not be a researcher. (4, Insightful)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711045)

In our opinion cloud computing, as currently described, is not that far off from the sort of thinking that drove the economic downturn. In effect both situations sound the same... we allowed radical experiments to be performed by gigantic, non-redundant entities.

This makes no sense. Even the deduction makes no sense, in context. TSK TSK those idiots who invented the mouse were engaging in risky behavior?! Let's demonstrate insight by mentioning an economic trend that has nothing to do with technical innovation? Why would radical experiments be conducted by redundant entities? I am scared to download the PDF, for fear it's got more insight that will frustrate and elicit vitriol from me.

No, you need to expand your porn horizon (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711139)

we allowed radical experiments to be performed by gigantic, non-redundant entities.

The Japanese call it "Hentai."

Re:No, you need to expand your porn horizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711163)

Actually, that's what the westerners call it.

Re:I don't understand. I must not be a researcher. (2, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711355)

This makes no sense. Even the deduction makes no sense, in context. TSK TSK those idiots who invented the mouse were engaging in risky behavior?! Let's demonstrate insight by mentioning an economic trend that has nothing to do with technical innovation? Why would radical experiments be conducted by redundant entities? I am scared to download the PDF, for fear it's got more insight that will frustrate and elicit vitriol from me.

Actually, If you had read the document, they do, in fact, spend a little time elaborating on the non-redundancy of current "cloud computing". The entire point of the document was that "cloud computing", as defined these days, solves a problem that has already been solved in a comparable fashion, with all of the critical details being the same except one: Who owns the infrastructure.

Their concept of cloud computing, while compelling, is ultimately unworkable, due to nothing more complicated than market forces. If there is no money to be made in it, no corporate entity will become associated with it.

-=Geoskd

Re:I don't understand. I must not be a researcher. (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712625)

Their concept of cloud computing, while compelling, is ultimately unworkable, due to nothing more complicated than market forces. If there is no money to be made in it, no corporate entity will become associated with it.

So what? You've never heard of a co-operative before? Never heard of publicly funded works for the common good? Corporations aren't the only structure humans can use to collaborate. And looking at how things turned turn out, they don't seem to be a particularly good structure, either. They repeatedly keep running things on the edge of collapse, calling it efficiency, and putting the extra resources up someones nose or wherever the hell it disappears to.

Re:I don't understand. I must not be a researcher. (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715281)

Their concept of cloud computing, while compelling, is ultimately unworkable, due to nothing more complicated than market forces. If there is no money to be made in it, no corporate entity will become associated with it.

So what? You've never heard of a co-operative before? Never heard of publicly funded works for the common good? Corporations aren't the only structure humans can use to collaborate. And looking at how things turned turn out, they don't seem to be a particularly good structure, either. They repeatedly keep running things on the edge of collapse, calling it efficiency, and putting the extra resources up someones nose or wherever the hell it disappears to.

The concept of "cloud computing" described in the paper is, as far as I can discern, purely hypothetical. The model of theoretically superior cloud computing never existed, if I understand the paper correctly.

This paper contains lots of hand waving and hand wringing, but no concrete comparisons of anything, and no data which would enable anything remotely resemble an objective analysis.

I think there's a seed of an interesting discussion in there, but nothing more. Give us a proposal, a real analysis of what today's "cloud" looks like and does, and how that compares to a more ideal "cloud" that provides equivalent services. Only then will we have something worth talking about.

Re:I don't understand. I must not be a researcher. (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713995)

What?

If everyone builds applications that store their shit on Amazon, then Amazon becomes "too big to fail".

That's the point.

Re:I don't understand. I must not be a researcher. (1)

monk (1958) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714709)

I'll agree it's a stretch to compare EC2 to Citigroup, but the concern is valid. I think a better comparison would be to mainframe timeshares. There were several reasons buying time on a mainframe was less desirable than distributed computing. Open APIs are better than vendor lock-in for the consumer, end of story.

But one comparison to the banks is worth making, imagine for a moment that Amazon or Google did take a financial hit or make a bad decision that lead to them shutting down their grid offerings. It would be difficult to move the app and management tools to new hosting without some standardization.

The trick is probably to build another layer that abstracts the EC2 management and Google App Engine stuff and only write to the common API, then encourage other hosting providers to support that common API, or just convince Google or Amazon to support a common API in the first place. They have the scale and experience to compete on price and performance.

It's actually a pretty attractive open source project, take maybe the open source Sun Grid Engine and XEN as a start and build out a grid offering equivalent to EC2 for hosting providers.

Re:I don't understand. I must not be a researcher. (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716999)

I believe rightscale does this. It can't possibly be the only service to abstract a bunch of cloud services, but it's the only one I've seen to be decent (in theory).

Worst. Analogy. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711077)

Their view is that cloud computing, as currently described, is not that far off from the sort of thinking that drove the economic downturn.

BadAnalogyGuy, you're fired!

Summary of TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711117)

"Your cloud is stupid, our cloud is t3h awesome."

So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (4, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711145)

allowed radical experiments to be performed by gigantic, non-redundant entities (PDF). This is dangerous,

So we should break up the large banks, and replace them with an untold number of smaller, local banks that each follow their own strategy ?

Letting them go bankrupt should have exactly this effect. Destroy the whole, sell of the pieces one-by-one to the highest bidder.

And the alternative is propping up banks, running the extremely enormous risk that we've misidentified the cause of the current crisis ... (too much regulation ? too little ? Obama ? Bush ? Clinton ? CRA ? The devil ? Oil price ? Energy prices ? GW (not GW itself obviously, but the policies "to prevent it" are affecting the economy) ? I'm not arguing for anyone of them, I'm just saying there's probably good arguments for a lot of these factors)

If we misidentify the cause of the current failure, or fail to act on it, even slightly, then we'll have an even bigger disaster on our hands in a few months/a few years ...

So we should force the banks to follow a much more capitalist course, versus Obama's communist "fix" ... well one would have to admit that's a given.

(I'm using the capitalist/communist distinction in it's original distinction : centrally (government) directed versus distributed decision making. With these (long used) definitions Obama's actions are squarely in the communist camp).

Re:So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711323)

It's not really a good choice. In an ideal world all banks would be small enough to fail. The shareholders would get wiped out and the depositors would get compensated. But we are not in an ideal world. The government doesn't have a choice between letting small banks fail or propping them up.

Right now we have a system with a few huge banks that are all under-capitalised because the majority of their real assets just dropped 30% in value, and the majority of their unreal (leveraged) assets fell off of a cliff in response. Letting them go bankrupt right now will not allow an orderly one-by-one breakup.

The amount of debt owed between the banks means that any one bankruptcy will cause a default on assets, hence a write-down and then a domino chain of failure.

Right now, propping them up with freshly printed imaginary money may be the least worse alternative. Later on it is essential that they are broken into smaller companies that can be allowed to fail - because if the bad assets are not purged out of the system then the ensuing inflationary holocaust in five years will make this look like a picnic.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711337)

While slightly off topic, it's one of the more even and provoking "armchair" analysis'(?) that I've seen on the subject.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713009)

Except it is quite clear that excess leverage and dishonesty where huge contributors to this particular meltdown. There isn't really anything pernicious about regulating the leverage ratio of a deposit backed institution (they are only ever technically solvent anyway), and the meltdown itself eliminated much of the credibility that made dishonesty so profitable.

So given that much of the government action is focused on decreasing the leverage at the big financial institutions, that particular aspect of the problem isn't very likely to get worse (there are two ways to fix the leverage problem: have them sell leveraged assets or increase the amount of capital they have (i.e., give them money). The government is doing some of both.).

Going forward, it is quite likely that Citigroup will be allowed to fall apart (most of it won't go bankrupt, but parts of it might, and it seems unlikely that it will continue to exist in its current form), and Merrill, Lehman and Bear Stearns have already been allowed to fail (in various ways), so it isn't as if the government is trying to preserve everything in 2008 form.

Re:So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (1)

QuestorTapes (663783) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711413)

> So we should break up the large banks, and replace them with an untold number of smaller,
> local banks that each follow their own strategy ?

I didn't view the recommendation that way. I took it as meaning that radical experiments (like the experiments in home mortgage valuation that triggered the financial meltdown), should be performed by smaller, redundant entities. That would prevent experiments like this from taking down key "too big to fail" parts of the structure.

It would be okay for larger entities to experiment in this way, but only to the extent that they contain the risk to a small portion of the companies core business. Probably in one, smaller division.

Anyway, that's how I read it.

Correct reasoning, wrong conclusions. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711501)

So we should break up the large banks, and replace them with an untold number of smaller, local banks that each follow their own strategy ?

Letting them go bankrupt should have exactly this effect.

and throw out the baby with the bathwater.. e.g. the entire economy, the middle class way of life, and arguably the US as a stable nation-state.

The issue of systematic risk can be handled through intelligent regulation. Set a maximum net worth of a financially and managerially independent subsidiary.. this will make large corps more modular and less likely to suffer catastrophic failure without impacting ownership/imposing wealth caps.

So we should force the banks to follow a much more capitalist course, versus Obama's communist "fix" ... well one would have to admit that's a given.

Because free market capitalism worked so well right? *cough 1929 cough* *COUGH communism as an idea didn't just arise spontaneously, but out of very real social maladies from pure free markets COUGH*

Re:So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711719)

So we should break up the large banks, and replace them with an untold number of smaller, local banks that each follow their own strategy ?

Letting them go bankrupt should have exactly this effect. Destroy the whole, sell of the pieces one-by-one to the highest bidder.

The problem is that you can't do it that way, precisely because they are currently "too big to fail." Try this analogy: we're currently holding up the roof of a building with one big support beam. Since if that support beam fails, the building collapses, it would be better to have a lot of small support beams, such that one or two could fail and be replaced without endangering the building. However, the solution of "Remove the big support beam and use the material to make the required small support beams" is not going to work well.

Re:So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711761)

The article recognizes there is room for large entities, The point is about a large-scale experiment that may fails and drive many other businesses with it.

Re:So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712051)

With these (long used) definitions Obama's actions are squarely in the communist camp).

Just another misuse of the word 'socialist' to create FUD, a republican specialty. Bombastic stagecraft seems to be his 'thing', here is excerpts from his last several comments in reverse order:

An it goes on; typical Republican stooge. Why is this guy still posting at '1'?

Now his thoughts on android and emacs...

This is why the Republican party is falling apart; Thanks to the internet, it's too easy to call them out.

Re:So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27714425)

Moron.

Barry wants to convert the non-voting preferred stock in the banks now, to voting, common stock. IN MOST CASES, THEY WOULD BE THE MAJORITY SHARE HOLDER. That is the definition of ownership.

And when the government owns and controls the banks, that is the definition of socialism.

Re:So you mean that the real way to end the crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712869)

too much regulation ? too little ? Obama ? Bush ? Clinton ? CRA ? The devil ? Oil price ? Energy prices ?

The Superdevil?

The words coming out of your mouth ... (1, Flamebait)

oGMo (379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711185)

[...] it's hard not to wonder if short-term profits, a lack of architectural thinking about security and resilience, and long-term myopia aren't leading us in the wrong direction.

This coming from a generation that still thinks web apps are cool.

The economy is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711239)

if u think replacing lots of people with just a few at a central location is good then u must be insane. unemployment would go through the roof.

Cloud computing has gotten better .... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711243)

With power outlets at nearly every seat on newer planes going from New York to Asia, cloud computing is great. The only problem is when they guy in front of you tilts his seat back too far. Of course, there is no redundancy, one laptop is expensive and heavy enough, thank you.

GroundOS sums things up nicely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711263)

Cloud computing is such an overused buzzword at this point, however the reality is that this technology has yet to fully peak. Cloud computing is here to stay, but in it's current state there are some fundamental issues that need to be addressed before it matures. Currently cloud computing is little more than a marketing buzzword, used to dress up the cold ugly business model of renting software, with the additional cost of losing your rights and abilities to fully protect and control your data, all in exchange for the convenience of a web based application. In reality, the entire cloud computing business model revolves around vendor lock-in, through proprietary and closed source software that is either ad supported, subscription based, and/or profits from the sale of your personal information. With a truly free and open source cloud solution, the possibilities are endless. We can make cloud computing beneficial for the masses by restoring the freedom and control over the cloud back to the individual. On that note, here is our rebuttal to the current state of cloud computing:

* Cloud computing has taken away our ability to fully control the applications that we use.

* Cloud computing has made it impossible to encrypt or protect our data, and exposes our data to privacy risks.

* Cloud computing often requires subjection to targeted ads, regular subscription fees, and/or data mining.

* Cloud computing has taken away our ability to fully control our own data, subjecting us to data loss through service termination.

* Cloud computing has taken away our ability to host our cloud where ever we want or need.

Instead of complaining about these problems, we've simply done our best to correct them. Here's how:

* GroundOS gives you the ability to fully control all the applications that you use, with full source code for everything.

* GroundOS gives you the ability to encrypt and protect your data, through multiple security settings and SSL support.

* GroundOS is completely open source, free of charge, and free of ads.

* GroundOS gives you the ability to set up your own cloud, so there's no services to terminate.

* GroundOS gives you the ability to set up your own cloud where ever you want, whether at home, the office, a hosting company, or even a data center.

From http://www.groundos.org [groundos.org]

Content will still move hierarchically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711267)

Content will always move from servers to clients and content must originate somewhere and be disseminated from there. This does not accord with what the article asserts the researchers' cloud to be. Even if the cloud as it should be has every node a server and client, the content must still get to a server to be served. So quite like how a pyramid scheme doesn't pay everyone, a cloud of servers won't all serve content. The content will always migrate in a hierarchical way from a small number of servers, it can never be a true cloud. Google is already finding out that youtube without commercially generated content is not affordable. So as far as new content is concerned, the cloud, in whatever vise, is moot.

Even as a library of existing content, there will always be downward pressure because it threatens ad revenue and, more importantly, tax revenue. Most likely an equilibrium will be reached where publicly available content will remain inferior to commercial content.

So even if the cloud has been perverted to some degree, it was never going to just work.

Trust but verify your cloud (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711301)

If you are a business trusting mission critical data or computing to the cloud, then you need to verify how well the cloud handles these issues. Just because they have a big data center doesn't mean that they have redundant services spread across the data center and multiple data centers in case one is hit by a disaster. http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/03/23/carbonite-lawsuit-reveals-data-loss/ [datacenterknowledge.com]

Missing the point (3, Insightful)

chabotc (22496) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711315)

The article is missing the point that many of the organizations that offer a 'cloud solution' (Amazon, Google, Joyent, etc) have already been experimenting with cloud computing for a long friggin' time, and the massive parallel experimentation phase was "who can grow without breaking". Now they're offering what they learned from that as a service.

Information Liquidity? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711321)

A measure of the likely price impact of executing my information order?

Bullshit! [bullshitbingo.net]

"Researchers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711327)

and as we all know researchers are always the first people to be innovative right? It's not like they hide in their huge university organisations being unproductive where they can pretend to be knowledgeable however wouldn't be able to even land a job in the outside world.

These kind of people are buffoons or as Joel Spolsky would call them, Architecture Astronauts [joelonsoftware.com] .

Re:"Researchers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27732343)

Ha, ha. Except that the people who wrote the article [maya.com] founded a design firm 20 years ago and have been practicing what they preach for all that time!

And Windows ? (1)

ppierre (932603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711335)

<del>cloud computing, as currently described,</del> <ins>Windows,</ins> is not that far off from the sort of thinking that drove the economic downturn

Maya- more concerned with layout than content... (1)

NotForRent (256975) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711491)

This article is classic self promotion in the vein of:
1. choose concept
2. label evil
3. ???
4. profit!

At the risk of being constructive, if Maya actually spent time looking at what larger enterprises are planning over the next few years they would see the obvious architectural foundations for creating compute/storage/application pools emerging within enterprise data centres.

Extending these across physically or geographically dispersed platforms (eg DR) will be well within our technical capabilities in the timeframes usually discussed. To see these platforms interacting with external third party resources also seems suitable as a destination architecture regardless of, or perhaps because of, its distance. The positive effect such a common architectural goal has on the fragmented deployments I see all the time in Enterprise DCs, cant be a bad thing.

This wont be the only cloud outcome, especially for small and Internet scale, as the majors are massively committed to branded, propriety solutions but enterprise will do their thing, relying on enterprise technologies and this will be of far more import than some bodgie P2P concept from an enterprise perspective.

A bit of a kurfuffle (3, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711623)

OK, sure, the "cloud" buzzword is annoying and not very useful. That happens a lot in our wonderful business. But saying that EC2, GoogleApps, and Azure are all dead ends because they're the products of large corporations is a lot of fuss over nothing.

No doubt the definition of "cloud computing" will evolve. For today, it primarily means not having to know any details about specific servers anymore, or worrying about how to connect to them. That's not a terribly original notion, but it is a big step forward.

To those of use who remember life before ubiquitous networking, ubiquitous data protocols, and ubiquitous storage, we are hugely grateful for what little bit of cloud computing we've got.

In my cloud, you fools... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711821)

In my cloud the price of hardware is so cheap and energy efficient as never before in history, which clearly enables me to run all my VMs and store all my data in-house keeping complete control over it.

In my cloud The Cloud is not a giant, "too big to fail, taxpayer bailout-enabled" hardware, storage infrastructure to store and process my data, because I drank too much of the marketing buzzword cool-aid that made me lose my confidence in my abilities to handle it all by myself.

In my cloud The Cloud is not a product to save my ass by shifting my responsibilities to that mystical, big "cloud", which might be as shitty as Windows, but I can always nod and blame Microsoft, because no business dares to argue with them or think of suing them.

In my cloud my VMs that I run are connected to The Cloud, exactly the way I want to give access to my data (content) I own.

In my cloud The Cloud is... well, I am just filing the patent application for that... while you fools keep chewing on the current cloud marketing bullshits...

Just.a(nother).Random.Idea by Random.Nick

you insensi7ive c7od! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27712467)

Some things never change (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27712489)

So they are saying that the modern definition of "cloud computing" involves putting all you data in one place, so that it can be managed at a single point by dedicated IT professionals? Isn't that exactly what they used to call "mainframe computing"? Will we all be using 3270 terminals to access the cloud?

Reasons to reject the Cloud (1)

Rawrlo (1533441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713045)

This is copied from my humble blog: http://thefortifiedhill.blogspot.com/2009/04/rejecting-cloud.html [blogspot.com]

To understand the reason the Cloud is a bad idea, we need to look at the short history of the web since the late 90's. The best example to look at is e-mail, but the same arguments apply to most Cloud applications. In those days, you got email access through POP and later IMAP. The service you were paying for was just a reliable email server and an account on it. Some free sites generated ad revenue by injecting text ads into the bottom of your emails (some still do). Since then, various web clients have come about. The main reason for the exodus to web clients was not that the web email clients had a better user-interface but because users could have the same user interface at any computer terminal. This is incredibly attractive to many users who do not care that much about their email client's features.

There are a number of problems with "Cloud" applications.

First, is that you cannot access the service unless you're online. You may argue that you're almost always online, but this is hardly true for mobile users. The fact is that a user should be able to access their data even when offline. This is the reason Google has their Gears project. There is another implication: you don't posses and own the data. You don't actually know if it's safe, being sold, or even managed securely. You just have to take it on faith that the service provider is doing their job. In some cases you may not even be able to extract your work or data in a usable way. What if the provider goes under, what if they are bought and the service is canceled? Not completely owning and possessing your work should be a major concern for users.

Second, the user gets an augmented version of the service. By this I mean that the service starts to be branded and enhanced by the provider. It gets integrated with the providers other features and starts delivering unique features. At first this seems like a good thing, a result of competition between providers. The reality is that this results in broken APIs and interoperability issues. These enhancements make it difficult for a user to leave a provider or to integrate a provider's features with their other work.

Third, the browser is a bad platform for these kinds of applications. The browser was never designed to be a host for dynamic applications of this complexity. Their are numerous development and usability issues in web development. Almost all web work involves hacks and workarounds to accommodate situations where browsers don't adhere to the web standards. The browser has been contorted to fill a role that your computer environment should have filled all along.

Security is the main issue to reject the cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27717739)

I think you missed the main issue with cloud computing for companies. Security.

I wrote a white paper on this a few months ago. I can't find the published link, but "Cloud Computing Hype" was the title.

Re:Reasons to reject the Cloud (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27722295)

Third, the browser is a bad platform for these kinds of applications. The browser was never designed to be a host for dynamic applications of this complexity. Their are numerous development and usability issues in web development. Almost all web work involves hacks and workarounds to accommodate situations where browsers don't adhere to the web standards. The browser has been contorted to fill a role that your computer environment should have filled all along.

This can't be said often enough. 'Everything in the browser' has been a user interface disaster of the first order. I've posted this before on Slashdot, and argued the point before. Anybody who wants to read the full exchange can find it in my posting history, but in a nutshell, I say web-based 'apps' are crippleware. They sacrifice 20 years of API development that made local applications what they are, and some substantial chunk of what web-based is now is an unstandard uncommon bastardized retrofit. Say it again, Sam!

The Cloud vs. ZFS (1)

cmarkn (31706) | more than 5 years ago | (#27713889)

I've just been reading overviews of the ZFS, and this white paper uses a lot of the same buzzwords with what appear to be the same meaning. ZFS is all about reliability, scalability and freedom from lock-in to any device; just like the cloud. I understand cloud computing to have four components:

1. a single ZFS pool which consists of every storage device in the world, using open-format data that are accessible to anyone, anywhere with proper access, and not available to anyone, anywhere who doesn't.

2. applications flexible enough to run on any processor in the world, as in the early descriptions of JAVA with its "write once/run anywhere" theme. In this ideal world, anyone could sit down at any machine and find their data available to them from this one pool, and their apps would run on whatever processor is available from that one pool.

A side effect of this portability is that data would always be migrating to the cheapest provider, and CPU cycles the same. There is no room for vendors to raise prices, as all their customers would instantly and automatically migrate away from them.

3. a reliable way to make micro-payments for those services. Literally in millionths of a cent.

4. reliable security of the data regardless of where it physically resides. One image that I can't shake is what happens in this ideal world when the Chinese government opens a huge new storage farm with a dedicated hydro-electric dam. Suddenly they have physical access to every bit in the world.

The ideal is virtually unlimited, virtually free computing for everyone. Service providers hate that. They want to be able to set their own prices for their locked-in customers by making it cheaper to stay and pay the higher rates than migrate because migration costs more than they'd save. So far, what we are seeing as the clouds are moving in the opposite direction from the cloud.

Cloud-P2P (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27714615)

Google's Gmail interface is one side of a P2P.

Cloud metaphors in place of FUD, blue smoke and mirrors for purposes which remain, well, clouded.

Uh, the GRID? Hello? (1)

diggitzz (615742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717663)

While there is still hope for computing in the cloud, it's hard not to wonder if short-term profits, a lack of architectural thinking about security and resilience, and long-term myopia aren't leading us in the wrong direction.

What? Of course those aren't leading us in the wrong direction --- they aren't LEADING anywhere! Science still LEADS technology development, and Slashdot has even run multiple stories about the Open Science Grid [opensciencegrid.org] . OSG, of course, is just ONE huge example of a set of massively distributed parallel services, spanning multiple organizations and institutions across the country, and peering with other grids across the world! Funding for grid development is completely unmatched in computing projects, given that it happens in so damn many places, and yet the need for faster and better performance (with a complete disregard for profits) drives scientists to find the cheapest and most efficient means of squeezing performance from hardware. It's a VERY active field of research (I happen to work in it)! The grid doesn't only offer compute cycles, it has storage and other services too, and cross-compatibility is a major concern. It really all MUST work together in order to be effective!

As scientists iron out bugs with this stuff, and as their students leave into the workforce, the technology slowly leaks into companies, most of which move at molasses-speed to adopt new ideas. Seriously, when *I* left this field 5 years ago, no one knew what the hell I was talking about when I talked at interviews about my work in "distributed computing" or "parallel processing", forget mentioning "grid" or "clouds". I gave up on jobs after a couple of years and came back to research, but it was just THIS PAST YEAR that any major companies noticed those catch words on my resume. Seriously, it takes a long while for them to catch up to development.

So, in short, it isn't myopia of thinking that's making cloud computing drive itself to the ground, it's the myopia of this article that makes it look that way.

This is what Stallman said! (1)

Moe1975 (885721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720065)

I have said this before, and I will say it again, this is EXACTLY what Stallman meant to say on the topic, he simply could not articulate it in a rigorous manner, but, that does not invalidate his point in the least when he said "it's a trap"

I agree wholeheartedly. I use SOME "cloud" apps, and use them in a calculated and limited manner, but, I will resist having my computing resources under the control of a bunch of filthy Suits someplace (because, ultimately, the major "cloud" apps ARE and/or will be under the control of some Suit swine)

Clouding saves lives .... of servers ;) (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720205)

I've had my first true cloud experiment a good week ago. It saved the sites of dozens of customers hosted at that same server.

Without clouds, bandwidth & servers had to be upgraded within 5 hours to withstand the load. With clouds, all load was handled perfectly by putting the highest load (images and javascript) on the cloud and leave the pure webserving to the server. It brought the load from unworkable to fully bearable. I've written about this [gowildchild.com] at my blog.

This new form of clouding could for sure hurt hosting providers at the end, since they will be moving less data because of cheap clouding. I just can't see why it would be bad to get the prices of hosting and bandwidth lower because of new technologies. Let's hope the ISP's won't make the same mistake as the RIAA and others are doing by not thinking/ignoring digital.

Let's read broadly: (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27722383)

we should insist on decentralized, massively-parallel venues

We did. It has worked astoundingly well. The centralized, massively-serial venue was called the mainframe. The decentralized, massively-parallel venue is called the desktop PC connected to others via LANs and the Internet. Isn't the paper preaching 'do more of the same'?

I would argue that the 'until we understand it very very well' part hasn't come to pass yet... We haven't finished understanding network effects, or Youtube wouldn't be losing money. If Google, king of the leveraged network effect, can't figure out how to sustain it, I'd say we still have a ways to go.

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