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Is Cloud Computing the Hotel California of Tech?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-you-can-never-leave dept.

Google 250

Prolific blogger and open source enthusiast Matt Asay ponders whether cloud computing may be the Hotel California of tech. It seems that data repositories in the form of Googles and Facebooks are very easy to dump data into, but can be quite difficult to move data between. "I say this because even for companies, like Google, that articulate open-data policies, the cloud is still largely a one-way road into Web services, with closed data networks making it difficult to impossible to move data into competing services. Ever tried getting your Facebook data into, say, MySpace? Good luck with that. Social networks aren't very social with one other, as recently noted on the Atonomo.us mailing list. For the freedom-inclined among us, this is cause for concern. For the capitalists, it's just like Software 1.0 all over again, with fat profits waiting to be had. The great irony, of course, is that it's all built with open source."

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Simple (4, Insightful)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646473)

Don't use them.

There's nothing like keeping your own data on your own system..

Re:Simple (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646567)

Or even just keeping a copy of your own data on your own system.

Re:Simple (5, Interesting)

trevorrowe (689310) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646923)

Or even just keeping a copy of your own data on your own system.

Thats why I don't call it "cloud computing", I prefer OPS (other peoples servers). Its more self-explanitory.

Re:Simple (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647281)

Why? What could be a better phrase to describe something entirely clouded, than "cloud"? Keep the term and contrast it to "clear sky computing" where no clouds hide the sun (i.e. the data).

Re:Simple (3, Funny)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647479)

Ya'll down with OPS.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647519)

Yeah, you know us!

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647533)

ya, its a hot mess. (rhyming)

Re:Simple (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647355)

Bingo.

Ever tried getting your Facebook data into, say, MySpace?

Let's see, you upload images and text onto Facebook. Now, what's stopping you from uploading the same images and text onto MySpace? _Nothing_.

The author's bitch is that you don't have a one-click Export-Import function. Should you? Should Facebook or whoever be required to make the structure that they have provided for free use on their system portable?

That's the business deal here. There's structural lock-in, but not data lock-in, in exchange for free use of the structure. If you don't like it, you're not required to use it, and even if you do, you remain free to use your images and text however you want.

I've got an Ubuntu computer here. It's loaded with data and configurations. If I migrate to Windows or Mac, it's going to take hours of work before the new box is 'my' box in the same way, though in the end it will be done. Is Ubuntu or anyone else an asshole because of that?

Re:Simple (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646667)

I'll hazard tech-saavy IT-oriented entities won't have problems with building APIs to extract their data from the cloud (they probably built the API to put data into the cloud to begin with). Random-User-Guy who puts all his contacts into his Hotmail address book (with no export functionality) will have a harder time of it.

Re:Simple (4, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647003)

Hotmail address book (with no export functionality)

Which one is that? the normal one exports all your data to hackers.ru at the click of a mouse!

Re:Simple (5, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646825)

So data checks in but doesn't check out?

That's more like the Roach Motel.

Re:Simple (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647169)

Oh that's the Hotel CA reference.

I was thinking that I can stab it with my steely knife, but I just can't kill the beast...

Re:Simple (3, Funny)

lavacano201014 (999580) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647223)

Well, it IS programmed to receive. (I probably butchered that lyric, I'm never sure what it actually is)

Re:Simple (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647265)

Same thing, just for different species.

Re:Simple (3, Funny)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647275)

And I was thinking along the lines of "This could be heaven, or this could be hell".

Cloud computing is eerily like the music industry, more news at 11!

Re:Simple (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647713)

I was wondering what colitis smells like.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647185)

data in but no data out is a data black hole...

Re:Simple (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647513)

You can check out any time you like...

But you can NEVER leave.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647681)

You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Re:Simple (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646849)

There's nothing like keeping your own data on your own system..

What if its not your data or not that important?

Re:Simple (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647397)

If it's not your data, you have to add liability, because after all whoever owns the data you are managing may some time want his current data back.
If it isn't important, why go to the trouble of storing it in the first place? Or are you storing it because it might become important in the future? Well, in that case, you better treat it like important data now.

Re:Simple (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647195)

Sure. Except for the fact it costs more. And if there is a problem it is all your fault.

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647561)

Your own servers don't necessarily cost much more. Check the pricing at Amazon http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/ [amazon.com] for a 'Large Instance' with "7.5 GB of memory, 4 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each), 850 GB of instance storage, 64-bit platform". A reserved instance costs $910 per year plus $0.12 per hour, or $1961 per year. I can assemble a nice rackmount 1U RAID server with better computing resources than that for the same price. Multiply that by a few servers and a few years, and your cost savings over your own hosting / racks / UPs isn't going to be that high. And of course, nothing stops Amazon from raising the prices.

Also, EC2 gives the user no recourse if the system goes down for any reason, or if your data is lost. http://aws.amazon.com/agreement/ [amazon.com] You get a 10% discount if the system uptime is less than 99.95%, but that's the extent of your rights. If you screw up, it's your fault. If Amazon screws up, it's their fault but your problem.

Now, the nice thing about Cloud Computing is scaling. When your magic startup starts generating massive throughput, you can just add resources to your EC2 allotment as needed. But for small deployments that don't anticipate sudden rapid growth, I don't get the appeal.

Re:Simple (3, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647267)

What you can use the cloud for is to have a few truecrypt volumes stored there as a backup in case you ever need them.

If someone gets at your volume they won't be any wiser.

Is Yahoo! the Facebook of webmail? (4, Funny)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646501)

I can't transfer my yahoo to my twitter, this cloud computing has gone wild.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29646503)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (0, Offtopic)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647073)

Is today a holiday or something? This kind of trolling doesn't usually happen until school starts letting out...

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647211)

PitaBred is a nigger

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (5, Informative)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647375)

This is the idiot that posts this nonsense... http://slashdot.org/~mister_playboy [slashdot.org]

He forgot to hit the anonymous button on his last post. I still don't understand what the point is... these guys never even respond when I ask.

Yes (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29646513)

If you mean a big hit that everyone knows.

Re:Yes (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646599)

If you mean a big hit that everyone knows.

I don't think that's what they meant by turning Hotel California into an adjective or analogy.

I believe the one-way street attribute would probably be the easiest way to describe it. Although there's more subtle caveats to 'Hotel California' as a lyrical work. Though interpretations have been numerous (I've heard it compared to prison), the writers describe it as an allegory about hedonism and self-destruction in Southern California [wikipedia.org] --especially the music industry (that we all know and love). From the Wikipedia entry:

"Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into LA at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into LA at night... you can just see this glow on the horizon of lights, and the images that start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that... what we started writing the song about. Coming into LA... and from that Life In The Fast Lane came out of it, and Wasted Time and a bunch of other songs."

So if I may elaborate the analogy may be trying to describe cloud computing as something you're kind of forced into and it would seem stupid not to take it ... but then you start to realize that it's not everything it was made out to be at the beginning. You are promised success and all the resources imaginary but then at the end when you realize you don't have control over the situation and your data or privacy becomes seriously important to you, it's nowhere to be found and irreclaimable. The song's final lyrics before the guitar solo and double stop bass: "You can checkout any time you like/But you can never leave."

No, this isn't unique, Lynyrd Skynyrd [wikia.com] felt the same way as did The Kinks [wikia.com] and I bet if I sat and thought I'd come up with much much more. I guess you'd be better off explaining it outright than calling cloud computing Hotel California but the English language allows one to play and invent I guess. The author might consider the younger crowds though for this piece.

Re:Yes (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29646735)

While all of this is true I think you took the reference a little far. They most likely just meant a small bit of the song.

"You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave."

Re:Yes (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647321)

I figured they were talking about "Warm smell of colitas" to mean that Could computing stinks like *ss.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647251)

The author might consider the younger crowds though for this piece.

"I've had a rough night, and I hate the fucking Eagles, man!" - The Dude.

Re:Yes (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647315)

Hotel California was the last time I ever looked at interpretation from an artist of their lyrics. It really does ruin the song in a sense, because I always thought it meant something different.

In reality it doesn't matter what the artist meant when they wrote the lyrics, it just matters what the lyrics mean to you, but still... hearing what they intended when they wrote the song takes some of the meaning away from the lyrics.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647501)

In reality it doesn't matter what the artist meant when they wrote the lyrics, it just matters what the lyrics mean to you, but still... hearing what they intended when they wrote the song takes some of the meaning away from the lyrics.

Unless you're incapable of understanding multiple viewpoints of one thing, no it does not take away any meaning.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647569)

It also bears mentioning that one popular interpretation is that the hotel in the lyrics is an elaborate metaphor for an insane asylum, from the perspective of one of its patients. This is pretty much certainly a myth, though, as evidenced by the parent's quotes among other things.

Re:Yes (2, Funny)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647067)

No. You have to wait for a long guitar solo to finish before you can look at your address book.

Apples and Oranges (2, Insightful)

spribyl (175893) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646537)

Facebook and MySpace are not computing clouds they are applications

The google and amazon clouds are not applications(sort of). You can always move your data from one cloud to an other just back it up and restore it.

I would not expect to move cloud configuration from one cloud to another. That would be like moving from Windows to Linux, or Solaris to HP, they may be similar but work using different mechanisms.

Steve

Re:Apples and Oranges (1, Informative)

milgr (726027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646731)

According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , Facebook and MySpace are cloud applications. On the other hand, I usually just consider them web applications.

I usually think of Cloud Computing in terms of places to run virtual machines - Like Amazon's EC2, or a private cloud. There should be no problem getting data off of a cloud infrastructure.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647337)

"According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org], Facebook and MySpace are cloud applications" Could you please back that claim up with, say, an actual quote from that article saying that facebook and myspace are cloud applications? Text-based search does not reveal either "facebook" or "myspace" at all in that article. Also, checking history since before your comment doesn't reveal anyone deleting said words.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647425)

I would not expect to move cloud configuration from one cloud to another.

If, I wanted to use cloud computing services I'd definitely want to have my data portable, I wouldn't want to be stuck with a service I hated.

Then again I wouldn't want to use another's system anyway, cloud computing, online data storage, or software as a service. I find it almost ironic we're going full circle. We started out with centralized computing (mainframes), along came Personal Computers (PCs), now we're moving back to centralized computers and services.

That would be like moving from Windows to Linux, or Solaris to HP, they may be similar but work using different mechanisms.

I and others do the same now. I'm typing this on my MacBook Pro running Leopard, but SRN I'll upgrade to Snow Leopard (SL). I already have the upgrade disk. After I install SL I'll also install Ubuntu. When I do I'll setup Snow Leopard and Ubuntu to use the same user home, including the data stores. The bookmarks, history, and preferences in Firefox in SL will be the same as they are in Firefox running in Ubuntu. The problem I'm having is how to preserve the OS X HFS+ metadata when using Ubuntu.

If I wanted to use MS Windows also I could do the same with it. That is a BIG IF though, I switched from Windows to Linux and OS X and don't want to go back.

Falcon

Least Common Denominator (3, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646549)

I tend to save things in LCD format, txt or RTF for Documents, tab delimited for tables, JPG or GIF for images (or PNG), MP3 for music etc.

The point being, if you save data in a format that is limited (.doc, .xls, .raw, etc) you're going to have difficulty moving it around.

And stuff that has to be saved in a proprietary format gets a simpler version, that may be missing things (formulas, charts), so that I can move them to a new system should the need arise. I used to use Dataviz to convert stuff, but found it was just easier to re-create the things I need rather than trying to clean up the splash of translation.

It is also makes it easier to learn a "new" setup if you have to use it to set the things up you need, rather than letting something automate it.

The point is, you don't need to worry about data portability if you plan for it.

Re:Least Common Denominator (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647577)

if you save data in a format that is limited (.doc, .xls, .raw, etc) you're going to have difficulty moving it around.

...

The point is, you don't need to worry about data portability if you plan for it.

Are there common data file formats for databases? Say if I'm using MySQL or PostgreSQL but switch to Firebird or Oracle, can I easily move my data too? Or will I have to go through a hassle converting the formats?

Falcon

Re:Least Common Denominator (1)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647667)

if you save data in a format that is limited (.doc, .xls, .raw, etc) you're going to have difficulty moving it around.

...

The point is, you don't need to worry about data portability if you plan for it.

Are there common data file formats for databases? Say if I'm using MySQL or PostgreSQL but switch to Firebird or Oracle, can I easily move my data too? Or will I have to go through a hassle converting the formats?

Falcon

Sadly, I must say CSV. But, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Private clouds are more interesting... (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646565)

... And with all the complaining about 'proprietary' clouds, why not build your own?

To my mind, the useful cloud is basically clustering plus virtualization, minus expensive licenses (if you use Ubuntu Server, Fedora or other OSS 'cloud' components).. And IIRC you can 'pickle' a cloud instance and run it on EC2, though I'm not sure if you'd be able to do the reverse..

(I wonder if there's a market in rent-an-instance using open tools and providing 2-way VM access..)

Re:Private clouds are more interesting... (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647001)

The useful cloud is what I can hand to my mother and allow her to publish a webpage as easily as I could with a bit of CGI. Though open-source CMS's like Drupal do offer some of that, they still face the wall at the edge of your webspace where friends cannot easily integrate their content with mine. Social networks really do offer a great deal, but the lock-in is killer.

As for SaaS, yeah, that's nothing new.

Google or EC2 a "closed data service?" (2, Insightful)

Concern (819622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646569)

Can someone give a little depth to the vague and unsubstantiated comment in TFA, referencing i.e. google: "...with closed data networks making it difficult to impossible to move data into competing services."

So which is it? Difficult or impossible? Or both?

I'm not at all surprised that facebook or myspace are not jumping up and down to allow various kinds of data export. But the fact that these obstacles are conflated with google and EC2 policies in the same paragraph without giving any details whatsoever makes it tough to take this post very seriously.

What would stop you from taking your data out of the cloud? SFTP not allowed? Can't access Mysql DB from outside? I'm asking honestly - I'd love to know.

Re:Google or EC2 a "closed data service?" (5, Informative)

uberedit (1650443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646631)

Clearly Asay doesn't know about Google's internal team specifically working on ways to get your data out of the cloud. http://www.dataliberation.org/home [dataliberation.org] specifically details what data you can pull from each of Google's services and how to do it. They concede they haven't "liberated" all the data from every service, but they're working on it.

Re:Google or EC2 a "closed data service?" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29646649)

Join the Data Liberation Front [dataliberation.org] ! Throw off your shackles! Data wants to be free!

Re:Google or EC2 a "closed data service?" (3, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647291)

Uh, yeah.. maybe your data wants to be free, but my data is staying right the hell on my computer, where it belongs.

Re:Google or EC2 a "closed data service?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647455)

As a member of the Front for Data Liberation, if there's on thing I hate more than shackled data, it is the Data Liberation Front.

Re:Google or EC2 a "closed data service?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647331)

The cloud runs on iTunes.

Re:Google or EC2 a "closed data service?" (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647381)

The problem comes in when providers are offering Sofware-as-a-service services. In these systems, your data is locked up somewhere with no simple way to get it out. Think Facebook or Myspace. (Google is working on some common methods to get things in and out of such systems... but for a company like Facebook, it's generally in their best interests to make it hard to get out)

Something like Amazon EC2 (or S3), in contrast, is really about providing application-agnostic resources, like a virtual disk. You put you data there, you run a database there, you run applications there. The system doesn't care what you're doing, because all it has to do is provide what looks like a standard computer (virtualized). In this case, it's easy to move things around as you like, because you control the application AND the data.

I don't exactly know where Google's services like AppEngine fall... I'd love to hear more opinions here...

It's really all the same anyway... (1)

gimmebeer (1648629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646605)

All the same stupid jokes, surveys and hoaxes are posted endlessly on all social networks. They each hook into the same Zynga games to keep the masses entertained... eventually it will be discovered that all the back-end data is identical and each network is simply a different interface to Skynet. Sadly, by then it will be too late.

Re:It's really all the same anyway... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647021)

I was able to read your mind there for a second. Your tin-foil hat must have a hole in it.

First, define cloud computing (4, Interesting)

jhfry (829244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646607)

As I understand it, cloud computing can be a cloud application, like google. Or you can actually run your own servers in the cloud, to which you would have complete control of the data and could dump it at will.

Of course using Software as a Service will lock you in... even if there aren't nefarious reasons behind it. But if your going to provision several cloud server instances, load Redhat on them, and put everything in mysql... then your free to do what you will with your data.

Software as a Service Cloud Computing. If anything SAS is just a small segment of the Cloud Computing movement.

Re:First, define cloud computing (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647089)

Or you can actually run your own servers in the cloud

Of course that is what you should do. It is also what just about everyone has been doing before some marketdroid caught a whiff of the 'cloud' and the current cloud-craze started. Just call it the net and be done with it.

Webservers, mailservers, database servers, groupware servers, terminal servers, fileservers... all attach to a network... which can be connected to the internet... which on the whiteboard is drawn as a cloud...

Yuck. They should have drawn it as a bucket of snot instead, see what the marketfolk would have done with that.

Facebook/Myspace != cloud computing (0, Troll)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646613)

In the masters chamber
They gather for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But the just can't kill the beast.


I didn't think MS did cloud computing?

Besides, when you say "cloud computing", about the last thing that would become likely would be "the warm smell of coitus".

So, no. Cloud Computing is not the Hotel California.

Maybe the Hot(el) (C)oral (Es)sex, but definitely not the Hotel California.

Seriously, though... Matt Asay is comparing cloud computing to Facebook/Myspace data? Very, very different beasts.

Re:Facebook/Myspace != cloud computing (3, Funny)

Shining Celebi (853093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646761)

Besides, when you say "cloud computing", about the last thing that would become likely would be "the warm smell of coitus".

It's the warm smell of colitas, a plant, not of coitus. ;)

Re:Facebook/Myspace != cloud computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29646803)

Mostly agreed; except that the song says "colitas", not coitus.

As I understand it, that was the result of a mis-translation (by the songwriter) of the Spanish word for marijuana.

Re:Facebook/Myspace != cloud computing (2, Insightful)

Vovk (1350125) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647045)

Parent is correct, but kinda moved off the point.

Social Networking != Cloud Computing

Yes you can run some applications from facebook's/myspace's severs, but they are hardly the scale you'd need for say, a cloud based OS.

Until I can store/edit documents, compile code, host my own virtual server, run complex applications (GIMP, Blender Publisher) and basically do everything else that I use a computer for from what is basically a thin client connected to a gigantic central cluster, then it isn't cloud computing.

Though to be honest, I don't think I'd want to. Something about controlling my own hardware is appealing to me ;)

About social networking being "hotel california"... WTF? "I can't transfer my info from myspace to facebook easily, so it must be lockin!" I'm sorry but that argument makes almost no sense. These are separate sites running on their own systems, they have their own way of communicating. Maybe if you can write a program to transfer data from one to the other, you could release it and solve this problem :) But the sites aren't trying to block each other out.

About the concept of cloud computing being "hotel california"... Maybe. IF MS and Apple come out with cloud computing solutions, I assure you that they will be subscription based. If you want more features, you WILL pay a higher premium. And they will be orchestrated to stop you from using the other system, even though the hardware that you'd be using to connect to the cloud would be almost identical in both cases (A monitor, Mouse, Keyboard, and computer with just enough horsepower to run SSH)

Who knows though! Perhaps cloud computing will spawn the year of the linux desktop! Think about it, free servers run by philanthropists, serving people the content they want for a fraction of the price of running your own box! /sarcasm

In reality, MS and Apple will continue to do their best to keep linux under the public radar, a good deal of people will still own their own computers, but will probably use very lightweight cloud based laptops to do work portably. These people will pay high premiums for their right to use the system, while Linux/BSD/Solaris/Haiku users will have the same laptops running off of their own personal servers. Normal people's privacy will be marginalized and the large companies will have more control over most people's lives. And the cycle will continue...

Re:Facebook/Myspace != cloud computing (1)

mick88 (198800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647323)

Even though your MS comment was humorous, the reality is that MS actually is in the cloud computing business: http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

It's becoming a huge part of MS's strategy. And as someone who works with customers to move to cloud services, I can also confirm that it is much easier to move your data to the cloud (both to MS and Google's clouds) than it is to move the data back. There are ways to move data back out, but most of what I've seen / used have been manual. For example - you can always export your Outlook data to a PST and re-import it to an Exchange mailbox. So it's possible, but not pretty.

Why not Roach Motel? (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646637)

I guess the Roach Motel of Tech implies bad things about your data.

Re:Why not Roach Motel? (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646749)

I guess the Roach Motel of Tech implies bad things about your data.

It'll survive a nuclear holocaust?

Re:Why not Roach Motel? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647483)

It will move everywhere where you don't want it to be?

Why on earth would they do that (4, Insightful)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646645)

Ever tried getting your Facebook data into, say, MySpace? Good luck with that.

From the "but-you-can-never-leave dept?" More like from the "no-shit-sherlock" dept... Why on earth would a company allow customers to automatically populate another company's website with your data? What I've found with social media sites is that if you invest so much time into inserting your data into their site, you are going to be much less inclined to go to the same thing again and again on other websites. Even if you don't like the interface as much as you may like some other site, you may feel a bit lazy and stick around. Whereas if the company said "here you go, click this button to transfer your profile to !" people would be jumping ship all over the place and it would be much more difficult to retain customers.

Re:Why on earth would they do that (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646765)

That I've found with social media sites is that if you invest so much time into inserting your data into their site, you are going to be much less inclined to go to the same thing again and again on other websites.

Ermm.... I disagree. I know plenty of people that have duplicate social media pages that are basically mirrors on Facebook, Livejournal, Myspace, and Twitter.

There are software tools out there that simply update all of them at once, but I'm not sure if that is either here nor there about your argument.

It is just that people do run multiple social networking pages at once simply with the right tools.

Even so... Its not that hard to re-upload your pictures again or retype in your information. Its not like a 500 page novel. People aren't just that interesting. ;)

Re:Why on earth would they do that (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647579)

Ever tried getting your Facebook data into, say, MySpace? Good luck with that.

From the "but-you-can-never-leave dept?" More like from the "no-shit-sherlock" dept... Why on earth would a company allow customers to automatically populate another company's website with your data? What I've found with social media sites is that if you invest so much time into inserting your data into their site, you are going to be much less inclined to go to the same thing again and again on other websites. Even if you don't like the interface as much as you may like some other site, you may feel a bit lazy and stick around. Whereas if the company said "here you go, click this button to transfer your profile to !" people would be jumping ship all over the place and it would be much more difficult to retain customers.

I'm having a hard time even understanding what would move from Facebook into MySpace.

Are they just talking about moving your friends over? Wouldn't that be as simple as doing a screendump of your friends on Facebook, and then inviting them all on MySpace? Are they complaining that there's no automated way to do this?

Are they talking about moving your wall/posts/whatever over? Isn't there an API that lets you view a lot of that stuff from a client? Couldn't you use that API to pull that information into a file on your computer and then just copy & paste it onto MySpace?

It isn't like Facebook is somehow holding your personal information hostage or anything... You typed it in there to start with.

There might not be much point in switching from Facebook to MySpace if your friends don't use it... You'd have to completely rebuild your social network... But that isn't really Facebook's fault, now is it?

I guess I'm just not seeing the lock-in here.

Capitalists? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646681)

"For the capitalists, it's just like Software 1.0 all over again, with fat profits waiting to be had."

At the risk of stating the obvious, isn't the whole idea of the straw-man capitalist (as opposed to an individual in a capitalist society) that he/she treats everything as a profit opportunity? I mean, for the greedy, there are fat profits in rubber band manufacture or book binding or air fresheners, to choose three items I can see from my chair. It's necessarily not some intrinsic aspect of cloud computing/web 2.0/web 1.0/whatever.

Re:Capitalists? (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646781)

Yeah, but the rubber band makers, book binders and air freshener peddlers have a harder time accomplishing vendor lock-in.

Re:Capitalists? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646879)

Obviously. However I'm not sure why the article pointed out that those practicing vendor lock-in are trying to make money. It's kind of implicit in "vendor".

Re:Capitalists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647535)

Book binding? Fat? Profits?

Clearly you have NEVER worked in printing.

Re:Capitalists? (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647729)

shhhh.

Engineers need to be slaves only working to benefit humanity.
They need not concern themselves with petty issues like earning a living, having stable employment, protecting their trade...

Let me know when society gives me a guaranteed income, and I'll write open source code and all the bruhaha that comes along with it.

Oh how I think this financial collapse will force some reality into these naive folk.

Walled Gardens (1)

resistant (221968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646685)

I don't really have much to say on this, but what the hell, I'll say it anyway.

Walled gardens result from the natural desire of business operators to hold on to customers once they've spent a remarkable amount of money per head to get those customers. That the tactics they use, including purposeful obstruction of data migration, are often appalling is simply irrelevant. Ethics can be hard to define for such a relatively nebulous matter as data storage formats, and most people aren't all that ethical about money with which to begin, especially in a poor economy.

This situation will continue until there is a sustained and vigorous effort on the part of customers to insist that businesses use a standard, probably XML-carried, format for customer data, preferably with legal sanctions such as fines for businesses that refuse to play ball. I've thought on this sort of thing for a few years, but don't yet have a more specific proposal. One thought is to make customers the sole legal owners of their own information, with all that implies.

That's all you're saying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647197)

Blah blah, I'm morally bankrupt.

Ever tried ... (3, Funny)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646725)

Ever tried getting your Facebook data into, say, MySpace?

No, and I never tried fucking a styrofoam sheep while doing underwater welding either.

Re:Ever tried ... (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647059)

I never tried fucking a styrofoam sheep while doing underwater welding either.

You obviously need to get a life!

For the freedom-inclined among us... (4, Insightful)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646759)

For the freedom-inclined among us, this is cause for concern.

HAHAHAHAHAahahahahahahahahahah excuse me


ahaahaahha oh man im so sorry i just cant stop laughing at this idiotic comment

Perhaps not the best analogy. (4, Funny)

greenguy (162630) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646769)

Some dance to remember, some dance to forget. This is not what I look for in hardware.

desperate "journalism" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29646809)

I think the more appropriate Eagles analogy here would be "Desperado" for the writer.

The summary is so far off I didn't even follow the link. Previous posters have already stated the obvious that transferring data between social web apps has nothing to do with cloud computing

Please don't tell this is just some ass-munch blog post. pllleasee.....

Hotel California (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646817)

My interpretation of "Hotel California" has always been as a particular and unusual vision of Hell.

I guess cloud computing fits in that.

For the non Eagles fans here (2, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646861)

The relevant lyrics are:

We are all just prisoners here, of our own device

You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave

And

They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast

Psshaw (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646863)

Thanks to this open format known as HTML, it's not too hard to build a screen-scraper and get your data back out. Not to mention that the google and facebook APIs will help you pull quite a bit out.

Compare that to a client GUI program with no copy-and-paste capability. As someone who's done a lot of data extracation from closed systems, I'll take a terminal first, and a web client second, everything else is a distant third.

wtf? (3, Informative)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29646895)

this article is total garbage. slashdot needs some new editors who has a little common sense of the things they are publishing.

Is there any good alternative... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647115)

The example of moving your facebook page to myspace Is the best example you can think of... Even with non-coud computing.
Converting you Informix Data to SQL Server. Converting you C++ code to java. Converting your Flash to HTML... It is not a problem with could computing it is a problem that systems programed by different people and don't follow the same sets of standards don't work with each other.

Data conversion is always expensive and bound to have errors unless it is done so often that there is a clean process to do so.

It is not a question do you want to be stuck, but more of a question who do you want to be stuck too.

Data sticks where it lands... (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647209)

It's not a new phenomenon, and I believe the saying has been around since the 60's. Migration of data has always been and will always be an issue to tackle.

Irony ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647215)

The great irony, of course, is that it's all built with open source.

So how come that's ironic ? The software that is used for the the infrastructure may be Open Source, but it's the content or additional 'services' that gets you 'locked-in'. It's a very common business practice these days, and certainly is not limited to cloud computing. Even major commercial Linux distributions like Red Hat give the software (including sources) away for free, but charge you for additional services like support. Similarly, my ISP may run an Open Source OS and mail daemon on their servers, but still charge me for (additional) email accounts or storage.

Move along, nothing to see here...

But, backup solutions are there (1)

CountryGeek (35546) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647231)

The data in the cloud doesn't have to stay in the cloud. Web technology is sufficiently advanced that cloud services can backup other cloud services. There are startups filling the need for this type of backup already - check out http://lifestreambackup.com/ [lifestreambackup.com] - They're adding services as customers request them. "Hotel California" is a catchy phrase for this article, but the open nature of the web helps to insure that there are no "Hotel California" services.

Cloud Computing = Ultimate Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29647233)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UYa6gQC14o

1.0 (1)

fireball84513 (1632561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647257)

to capitalism! and the irony that although in its necessity, there is born some of our deepest frustrations.

how many Googles in a Facebook? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647301)

Prolific blogger and open source enthusiast Matt Asay ponders whether cloud computing may be the Hotel California of tech. It seems that data repositories in the form of Googles and Facebooks are very easy to dump data into, but can be quite difficult to move data between.

Mentioning Google specifically may not be terribly helpful with their Data Liberation Front [dataliberation.org] project...

And with the APIs available for Twitter and Facebook it probably wouldn't be too hard to dump most of the important information to some kind of file.

Or is he talking more about the Amazon-type [amazon.com] cloud stuff? But isn't that already fairly portable? Amazon is just running a pile of VMs running Linux/Windows/Apache/MySQL/whatever...

Granted, there's all sorts of hickups and loopholes and oddities with various hosted/cloud services right now... But I haven't seen anything any worse than the vendor lock-in you get with a lot of software you run on your very own hardware.

What worries me... (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647363)

What really worries me about cloud data storage is, can you delete it ?

I would assume not.

I am not being snarky, and I have no evidence, but I would assume anything written to the cloud will be available to anyone with any interest and persuasion to get it. Persuasion in this case include both court orders and anything available to a national intelligence service.

Atonomo.us? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647395)

Why do we care what has been "recently noted" on some mailing list we haven't ever heard of?

Analogy ? (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647581)

Ok, I *really* don't get this 'Hotel California' [wikipedia.org] analogy.... but maybe that's caused by the fact that 'The Eagles' [wikipedia.org] are like way before my time ?

" ... Welcome to the hotel california
Such a lovely place... "

Same mantra as Storage virtualization (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647585)

In the past few years we've seen storage virtualization appear on the market. This is where you have some appliance that sits in front of your heterogeneous disk arrays and in turn presents a single type of lun/disk to all of your hosts. That way all the hosts will use the same loadbalancing software (powerpath, sdd, hdlm etc..) regardless of what type (brand or model) of back end storage you have. While this seems great in that you can buy IBM one month, EMC DMX the next, followed by HDS the third as whoever has the cheapest $/GB price and all the intelligence (replication for example) is in the appliance.

The problem is what do you do when you need to migrate to someone else's Virtualization appliance? Going from IBM SVC to EMC InVista is no easy task and would most likely force you to end up performing host based migrations (VxVM, LVM etc..). Not a pretty thought when you have to put together plans for HPUX, AIX, Solaris, windows, Linux, Vmware etc etc etc.

Clouds are not different than the above example. You've got some sort of virtualized environment and when it's time to move to a new virtualized environment it's back to the dark ages of migration.

Of course this would lead someone to create a Virtualized Virtualization appliance. Which would sit between you and the virtualization appliance or cloud and provide yet another layer.

Oblig. Lebowski (1)

Chess Piece Face (247847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647635)

I hate the fucking Eagles!

Article Breakdown (1)

Plasmic (26063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29647663)

There are two key problems with this article:

Apples and Oranges

From the perspective of data being stored in the cloud there are several unique cases. I'll pick two examples, but, as other posters have pointed out, the issues facing each are vastly different:

  • Google Apps/SalesForce: There is a clear choice between in-the-cloud and in-house: you can host key corporate data (customer contacts, email, etc.) or you can build in-house CRM, ERP, and/or Email. Amazon Computing Cloud fits here, as well, insofar as you have an in-house alternative: build your own VM environments in your own data center with all data hosted locally.
  • MySpace/Facebook: Aside from not being back-office business systems, you are not (intentionally) putting corporate data in the cloud and there is no real on-premise alternative for social networking. By definition, you want to connect to everyone. Yes, I know there are enterprise collaboration/IM tools (e.g. Google Wave), but these fall within the first scenario. Social networking tools are fundamentally enabled by being publicly available on the Internet, i.e. in the cloud.

Vendor Interoperability
The point of this article -- vendor interoperability, especially around data conversion -- is an interesting one. But I would've thought that it was self-evident without having to raise examples that it's not an issue specific to the cloud: if I want to switch from one in-house technology to another (Oracle to SAP, Lotus to Exchange, Novell to Microsoft, etc.), it's an enormous pain in the ass. Especially between vendors, it's always difficult, and often impossible to transfer all data in full. There's no conversion script for me to take my Nortel PBX call queuing and scripting and magically transfer it to my Cisco Unity Call Manager. If my organization wants to switch from one in-house ERP to another, it's often a 12-18 month process: harvesting, transforming and normalizing, scrubbing, loading, and finalizing the data, and that doesn't even address the workflow, business process, or other issues.

While the issue of being locked into a particular vendor, product, or data format is never going away and merits further discussion, the answer is entirely independent of the cloud: hope/ensure that your contracts dictate the necessary level of flexibility in importing/exporting data from a given business application/system ... or you could be screwed (both on-premise and in-the-cloud).

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