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With this hilarious Onion video about Cloud computing it makes an important point: everyone is talking about "Cloud computing" but it seems like few know what it is.

It's important to know what this shift in computing is and what it could mean for the future.

What is Cloud Computing?

For a time if someone wanted to host a website they would need to buy physical servers. If traffic increased it would mean adjusting to the traffic ad hoc by buying more servers. The obvious problem is for sites like Google or Amazon it requires massive amounts of servers that can't be maintained this way on any practical level.

In order to fix this came "Cloud" computing which essentially outsourced the problem;  large remote server hubs or "clouds" managed by private companies would take the place of buying servers. In these clouds websites would automatically take up as many servers as needed and the charge for bandwidth usage would work like a meter. It essentially rents server space to websites.  

The thing to remember is these server farms are completely remote and hidden from the people using them, managed by whoever owns the cloud. Ostensibly this gives the user the freedom to focus on whatever he or she is hosting but it also takes away control and ownership of the server.

The Cloud Dilemma

The problem with clouds is that many of the cloud providers are big companies like AT&T who of course have a history of collaborating with illegal government searches and share common interests against things like net neutrality.

There's also no real guarantee that these companies won't filter content or go through private data to accomplish their ends. Take a company like Dow Chemical, recently it was revealed that they hired the private firm Stratfor to spy on Bhopal activists; there have been no charges or calls for investigation.

While folks like Zizek might be a little off when claiming that clouds will privatize the internet (the internet already consists of many privately owned servers) what cloud computing will do is centralize it the hands of unaccountable corporations.

Indeed, the concept has spread from just servers to the entire personal experience, from private laptops to smartphones, every file someone has will thus be floating around in a cloud network. Thus the potential for harm will be huge.  

Solutions and Alternatives

With the way things are, policy solutions are a long ways off but it is possible to create collaborative and secure clouds right now. There are efforts like the Tor project on Clouds or possibly even have clouds in foreign countries (specifically ones that aren't party to ACTA which the US signed but has not yet ratified).

Now obviously there is a potential for people using secure clouds in themselves for harmful purposes (money laundering etc.) but the importance of keeping a free society away from private control is much more important.

Indeed while Clouds are just a buzz word now, if we don't do anything the future with them 20 or 30 years from now might not look good.  

Originally posted to CartoonDiablo on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 11:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The government doesn't need to reach (5+ / 0-)

    Into servers to access content when they have stuff like this.

    Personally, I believe the benefits of cloud computing far outweigh the costs.

    Safer, redundant storage
    Enables mobile computing

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 12:20:57 AM PDT

    •  fast, cheap, good: pick two. (21+ / 0-)

      I'll have to differ with you on this issue.

      Safe & redundant:  Any small to medium sized company can run its own backup system by getting a dedicated circuit (which can be a Comcast or equivalent "internet via cable TV" circuit) in the home of an owner or key executive, and running a backup machine there.  In the event of disaster (fire burns down company HQ), the backups can be loaded on another machine.  Alternately, keep your server at a server farm with service level guarantees for power and internet.

      Mobile computing: You can do that with your own server as well: there is no advantage to keeping it on someone else's server.  

      Greener:  Granted, there's a slight improvement in energy efficiency by using shared hardware.  However, the extra power consumption for having your own servers can easily be made up and then some, by telecommuting.  Even one employee telecommuting a few days a week is sufficient.  

      Cheaper:  This is the one that makes me mad as hell, because I deal with it all the time.  Companies that try to "cheap-out" on mission-critical infrastructure.   Typical example: company with 50 employees decides they can save a thousand bucks a year by going with a cut-rate telephone carrier... and then they freak out when their phone lines go down.  Same thing for broadband services.  Same thing for the actual equipment on their site (computers & telephone equipment).  

      If it's mission critical, spend the money to do it right.  Never cheap-out on vital infrastructure.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 01:00:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PowWowPollock, nchristine

        "the cloud" is pretty much still just, uh, "the internet". anyone who thinks the data on their hard drive or peripherals is "more safe" than data "in the cloud" is fooling themselves.

        Think of me what you will, I've got a little space to fill. - Tom Petty

        by itsbenj on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 03:19:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry (3+ / 0-)

          data on my hard drive IS more safe than data on the cloud.  That is fact.

          Bad is never good until worse happens

          by dark daze on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:38:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you use strong encryption? (2+ / 0-)

            And where are the keys? Is that storage isolated from the net?

            Like I said elsewhere, when the government comes knocking, unless you have some mean encryption and refuse to give up the keys, they will take what they want.

            Do you honestly think an organization that writes code like Stuxnet and Flame lacks resources and ability to search your drives?

            On the other hand, good service providers do use strong encryption coming and going. Of course, governments also seize servers.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:13:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't worry about government. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              terabytes, Larsstephens, koNko

              I worry about Google, Facebook, LSOs, Flash cookies, and all the tracking that goes on that way.  

              If government gets out of hand we can deal with it at the next election, as we did in 2006.  In the vanishingly small chance that some kind of for-real tyranny occurred (including shutdown of congress and the courts, and mass-casualty attacks on peaceful civilians) we have the 2nd Amendment as the last resort.  

              But the private-sector snoops do real damage in many ways, and most people are either oblivious or deliver themselves willingly into the loving embrace of the Borg.  How many people do you know who have GMail addresses and Facebook accounts and mobile devices with tracking?   See?

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:48:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  no, its really not a "fact". (0+ / 0-)

            hard drives fail all the time, sometimes critically. again, you're thinking of "the cloud" as being something other than "the internet". it's just the internet. no more no less. you can buy very secure storage for very cheap. certainly cheaper than high storage external drives are. you can get somewhat less secure data storage for free as well. whatever servers the info is stored on, if they have redundancy themselves (which they would be absolutely certain to unless they were insane), then it's almost certainly safer than any hard drive just by itself.

            Think of me what you will, I've got a little space to fill. - Tom Petty

            by itsbenj on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 11:29:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  orly? (4+ / 0-)

        You would actually recommend corporate data be replicated to someone's HOUSE?

        Maybe for some mom-and-pop shop snapshotting their quicken database but seriously.  How many best-practices does that violate?

        You have no way of ensuring physical security of that device that may contain anything form corporate finances, data that falls under HIPPA, FINRA or SOX, employee SSN#'s, intellectual property, merger-acquisition information, etc.

        An employee of the company probably lives relatively close to the office, which fails to adequately protect disaster recovery in the event of a regional disruption and limits the business continuity options by relying on IT staff being able to retrieve the device from that employee's house.

        Plus size... if you are running several virtual machines or sizeable databases, what is your back up window to get all of that data pushed over that pipe to keep it current?  Unless maybe you flash the full back up on site, then relocate and use something like AppAssure to do indefinite incrementals.  

        And what device are you putting out there?  A true SAN or a glorified NAS?  Again, unless you are virtualized and using something like AppAssure to push data directly to a warm standby VM, you are just going to have a MASSIVE backup file that in the event that you need it you are either going to need to do a very long restore over that line or wait HOURS while that image is converted to a VM and brought online.

        And who is doing hardware maintenance on this device collecting dust in some VP's basement?  Also, if you have connectivity problems that effect your backup integrity, you cant call customer service because the circuit is in that VP's name.  As an added bonus, its also a residential contract with no SLA's or escalation guarantees in the event of an outage.

        And is that device (which has a full living copy of your entire corporate information) behind a firewall?  And I mean a REAL firewall, not some bullshit device Verizon mailed out to him when he signed up for FIOS.

        And may whatever god you may or may not believe in help you when that VP gets fired or leaves under bad terms and has the keys to the kingdom in his house.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:28:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the better cloud systems encrypt data (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Otteray Scribe

          in both directions, automatically.
          It is pretty robust, in my experience. IF someone wants to target the encrypted data, then they have sufficient resources and interest to break into your office at night and simply download everything directly.

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:53:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Even under HIPAA constraints (3+ / 0-)

          which have penalties of up to $50,000 and a year in jail for each violation, that is legal provided robust encryption is in place.  There are several such encryption programs  that are acceptable to HIPAA.  Pretty Good Privacy comes to mind, for instance.  

          The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

          by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:33:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But what the poster describes (0+ / 0-)

            is not a professional cloud service with built-in encryption.  Its just putting a storage device at the business owners home to replicate data.

            So the burden of encryption management falls back to the business as either another layer of effort (and I realize its not THAT much of a burden but they will need to manage keys across their clients) or, more likely, as another cost to their IT service provider on top of buying the machine, paying for the connection, licensing the OS and Backup Software, renewing software maintenance, applying patches and updates, replacing aging media, etc.

            All for what benefit again?  Oh right.. to stay away from the Scary Orwellian Hide-yo-Kids, Hide-yo-wife CLOUDMONSTER.

            I don't get it.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:50:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  HIPAA is a joke (OT) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It is perfectly legal under HIPAA for data aggregators to buy up pharmacy prescription records, make a database of it and sell it to insurance companies.

            OTOH, hospital administrators have used HIPAA as an excuse for refusing to release medical records to next of kin of elderly patients who have been mistreated.

        •  depends on the size of the company. (0+ / 0-)

          Publicly traded companies, F500 companies, etc., are a different story.  I'm talking about the SMB sector of up to about 200 employees, specifically not including companies that exist primarily or wholly to provide services via internet.  Hypothetical example: a local supermarket chain with five to ten branches, or a regional general contractor that builds houses in four or five counties, or a medical practice with 2 - 3 offices in different cities.    

          My part of the picture is telephony; and I'm only reporting what I hear from the folks who work on the data networks.  

          The contingencies you're describing don't occur in the real world for most non-web-based SMBs.  

          And as for the fired VP, if the stuff is encrypted he can erase it and turn the machine into a game console for all I care, because there will be contingency plans made in advance to put another backup into effect beforehand.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:54:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's what my boss always says (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Larsstephens

        And I usually pick fast and good.

        Cheap: "Free" 5GB from Google, et al

        I actually have 3 cloud options:

        iCloud: back-up my contacts in case I lose my phone and need to remote wipe it. Not worse than if I lost my phone without a back-up.

        Company: Secure, off-site, 100GB (as long as I don't quit). The provider is world class (I work for a big multinational) and my friends in IT take care of me.

        Mine: Personal server with mirrored drives (expensive)

        Basically I update my disk image daily and have a small stack of  HDDs, but that's not for everyone.

        But I do think the world is migrating toward the cloud and that security, encryption and "do I trust my service provider with what and how far" are important questions.

        All that said, unless one uses string encryption and keeps the keys well hidden, pretty much whatever the government wants it can get one way or another. Seriously, it just a matter of how much hardship you throw their way.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:02:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you're pretty well covered there... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, koNko

          .... but Google isn't "free."  It's in exchange for them data mining you to the point where they can predict and control your behavior if they so choose.  

          Google CEO is on record saying their business model is to "get right up to the line of creepy."  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:57:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The thing that bothers me (27+ / 0-)

    isn't the use of clouds for servers, but the fact that they're trying to convince us to use the cloud for personal storage. I think the endgame is to get us to move to computers that don't have local storage.

    I don't want to keep all my digital belongings on Amazon's servers for many of the same reasons I don't want to keep all my physical belongings in Wells Fargo's vault.

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 12:34:32 AM PDT

    •  asdf (4+ / 0-)

      All our belongings on the server... We might as well be Sims.

      If Wells Fargo would wash the laundry, they'd be welcome to store it for me.

      Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

      by jennifree2bme on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 12:51:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is already the case (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, itsbenj, Wisper, Larsstephens

      Than many of the network appliances (smartphones, tablets, etc.) we use have limited storage.

      But if we look at the general trend for PCs, we find exactly the opposite - increasing storage.

      One of the advantages of cloud storage is it give one the ability to remotely wipe a lost/stolen mobile device without losing the data in back-up.

      If we can trust the government and we can't trust commercial service providers, then don't use the internet, full-stop. And don't open your door if the FBI, SS or other government agent knock.

      The middle road is to use strong encryption for anything you are going to store anywhere you don't want others to read.

      BTW, no one is forcing anyone to use cloud services, it's a choice.

      But if you use any 3rd party services (do you run your own secured email server running on your own internet?), at a point you should ask "Do I trust these guys?">

      If the answer is "No", then don't go. Simple.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 12:53:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, itsbenj, Larsstephens

        I meant "can't trust the government and can't trust ..."

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 12:55:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but you were also right the first time! (11+ / 0-)

          I trust government and its three-letter agencies a hell of a lot more than I trust Google, Facebook, and all the rest of those.

          Since when did government compile biographic dossiers on over a billion people (Facebook "timelines")?

          Since when did government drive through neighborhoods harvesting passwords and personal data as they went (Google)?

          Since when did government go providing dossiers to any employer from whom you are seeking a job, telling them more about you than your own mother knows (data aggregators)?

          Since when (after the McCarthy era) did government fire you for your politics, thereby causing you to end up homeless or without medical care?  

          There are a hell of a lot more effective ways to oppress people than by threatening them with prison.  All you have to do is get them to internalize the oppression by creating a panoptic society where the private sector's uses of power are unlimited, and where people learn to "get by" by keeping their heads down.

          Why put a person in prison, when you can put prison in the person?

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 01:12:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  couldnt disagree more (0+ / 0-)

            Bad is never good until worse happens

            by dark daze on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:42:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, Larsstephens

            If we limit our definition of cloud computing to Google, iCloud, etc (and that is the case for many) then you get what you pay for.

            My extent of using such services is to back up my phone contacts and no more, because if I lose it I can remote wipe it and have a back-up, and that is one pale gray shade more secure than no back-up and no remote wipe. Convenience feature.

            The service my company uses for cloud services is big, reliable and probably as secure as it gets, but it's a corporate client service with caged servers, not a consumer grade "free" service.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:21:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It's not a trust thing (5+ / 0-)

        It's a control thing. There's something fundamentally different about physically having possession of my data/programs/etc vs. just having 'access' to it.

        I grew up when everyone kept paper copies of everything. I'm young enough to be OK with digital storage...but not young enough to trust the Internet to be available whenever I want my stuff.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 01:31:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a combination of both for me. That's why I (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marleycat, Cassandra Waites, kyril

          have issues with the e-readers out there.  If I'm paying 12$ for a book, I better be able to read it as many times as I damned well please.

          •  Then you want a cloud. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            With a record of your ownership and a copy of what you own in case you lose that reader.

            Basic proposition of iCloud, Amazon, et al.

            And this is an example of what I'm talking about when I say cloud is useful and cheap.

            And not really a security risk, correct?

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:26:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  When was the last time the Internet went down? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johanus, koNko, Larsstephens

          I dont mean your connection to it; I mean, "the internet".

          Paper copies get lost and damaged.   Local consumer-grade hardware will die.  Not "might die"; "WILL DIE".

          Store it in the cloud and you can get to it from your home PC.  If you rinternet connection is down, you can access it via laptop with a wi-fi card, walk down to Starbucks or a public library for internet access, tether your 4g mobile phone, browse to it directly through your phone, download a temp copy to a USB drive (or the HD in your phone or car), etc

          Its the same old argument:

          "This data is too important.  I dont want to store it on a multi-million dollar globally redundant network  designed and maintained by a company who specializes in this industry.... I'd rather copy it to the $79 device I bought at Best Buy plugged into my 2 year old PC with a $4 copper wire.  It makes me feel safer."
          ...odd, that.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:35:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly what do you think the cloud is? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, wilderness voice, Larsstephens

            You think those 'cloud farms' are all top of the line equipment?

            They're all different hardware, using whatever equipment the server owners were willing to pay for.  The company I used to work for did buy 'top of the line' equipment for our early customers.  We gave them huge back up power with surge protection.  4 expensive hard drives on their database still died within a year the first year.  Thank gods for RAID and hot swappable drives.  Corruption occurs at times, no matter how expensive the equipment.  My guess is that the equipment being used for those clouds is pretty generic, middle of the road gear in RAID arrays.

            I do keep multiple copies of important data, and even copies offsite in case of fire.  But no proprietary data goes to third parties in whom I have no reason to trust.  Would you 'store' your social security number and birthdate, and other info on 'the cloud'?

            •  They are all differnet; thats the point (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johanus, koNko

              The virtue of the cloud is its redundancy and its ability to be hardware, browser and connection agnostic.

              Cloud farms do not need top-line eqiupment to store low-performance data.

              99.9999% of the cloud is storing low to mid-use data.  Not some number-crunching algorithmic behemoth cranking away on the SETI project.

              If you are grinding out billions of calculations through your SAS-formula in your Oracle DB, then buy a Compellent SAN.  You wouldn't cloud-source that anyway.  The pipe would be your choke point long before the host's hardware.

              Hard drives die everyday.  Water is also wet.  Thats the whole point of RAID.  No datacenter has had un-RAID'd arrays since 1993.  And RAID is just one level.  The data will most likely be on paralleled SANs, iSCSI or Fiber Channeled.  Most likely wholly virtualized with multiple vSpheres to allow real-time failover between physical hosts.

              But if your 1TB USB drive you got on sale makes you feel better then use it.  

              ....And remember to make multiple copies.  And update them everytime you change the file or create new ones.  

              ........And dont lose track of your versions.  

              ............And if that USB is less then 3.0 realize that it will take a LONG time to recover anywhere CLOSE to 1 TB of data over a 2.0 connnection.

              ................And I hope when you upgrade to a new OS, you dont have connection issues with your old storage device.  Or if you do, you can always keep your old PC up just to access that data.  

              ....................Oh right, you also keep a copy off-site so remember to update or swap out that device too.  Until it dies.  And then replace it very quickly.

              Or use DropBox.  For free.

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:59:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hint. Most home users don't have a TB of (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, wilderness voice

                sensitive data.  Not counting compiled code, (since I can just keep source and makefiles), everything important I've got will fit on a 64MB jump drive.  And yes, I use CVS versioning, and linux, so upgrading my OS is never a problem.

                Again, you're confusing Fortune 500 company needs with those of the everyday user, or even the 'small business' owner.

                If one of our clients served more than 5000 customers on any given day, it was a busy day.  

                •  And most home users have source code? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  1 TB is not that big when home users are piling up high quality music, pictures, videos, gaming files, etc.

                  Jump Drives are a convenience not an actual backup solution.

                  Seriously, client data, even for a small business, being routinely copied to a small mobile easily-lost device?  We think this is a good idea?  

                  Maybe for you personally to manage your own info.  But for a small company?  Some kind of manual "I make several copies" homegrown solution is a disgraceful IT solution that can fail in so many ways when its really needed.

                  I consulted in the SMB field for years and saw many things like this.  I always asked the same thing: "At that point, why even bother?"  People think "back up" means just having a copy lying around in case you need it.  For a business this is wholly inadequate.  I've watched small business go OUT OF BUSINESS after a catastrophic data loss.

                  I don't care if you are serving 5000 customers a day or 500 or just FIVE.  Data protection is important and it cheaper and safer to store it in cloud then it is to build the RIGHT level of infrastructure in-house.

                  Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                  by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:19:10 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  They are redundant. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              As for the quality of equipment and management, depends on the service provider and you generally get what you pay for.

              This and this are somewhat different.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:35:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  And, btw, (5+ / 0-)

            if my connection to the net goes down and my data is in 'the cloud', it doesn't matter to me if 'the internet' has gone down or not - I can't reach my data.  We sold systems to movie theatres, some of whom had crappy net connections.  Because the databases were local to the theatre, they could sell tickets as long as there was power to the theatre.  They lost ability to sell tickets online whenever their ISP crapped out, but the box offices stayed up.

          •  It's not that it's that important (0+ / 0-)

            it's that I want it when I want it, where I want it, without a download time.

            I actually happily back up my most important data to the cloud. It's great for backups. And I use online repositories, and I email a bunch of stuff to myself. That's all well and good.

            But I want most of my stuff - especially programs, but also video files, ebooks, and other stuff - right here on my local machine where nobody can take it away from me. I don't want to switch to a 'cloud-based service' to replace my personal copy of Photoshop or Maple. I don't want to keep my movie library in the cloud. And I definitely don't want games to migrate to a cloud-based design, with all the extra latency inherent in it.

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:40:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That is OK until (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You no longer have possession of it, and your government reserves the right to issue subpoenas and take those drive as long as they like.

          Seriously, happens a lot.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:23:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  hehe, right (0+ / 0-)

        and since no one is going to step up and do that (nearly no one, anyway), people should just view the technology appropriately, and rationally. "the cloud" is just a tool to have redundancy of data. one should have important data backed up in as many formats as possible, just because they can all fail at different times. it's just rare that they all fail at the same time.

        Think of me what you will, I've got a little space to fill. - Tom Petty

        by itsbenj on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 03:25:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you, no. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nchristine, kyril, wilderness voice

        I'll continue to use the internet, while not trusting either government or commercial service providers.  And to host my website, email, databases and everything else I can locally at home.  What do I want from 'the internet'?  Transportation of data to and from my home.  I don't want 'personalized advertising' or any of the other 'benefits' commercial sites want in 'exchange' for my data.

  •  the rent-seeking model vs. ownership. (13+ / 0-)

    "The Cloud" is all about rent-seeking behaviors by "cloud service providers."  

    You can keep your data on your own devices.  That's what you've already been doing since the 1980s or however-long since you got your first computer.

    Whatever operating systems you use, you can buy an inexpensive server to run in your house, with redundant storage drives.   You can create a real "cloud" by arranging for mutual data backup between friends.  (As for the energy consumption:  take two loads of laundry each month and hang them on a clothes line instead of using the dryer: that'll more than make up for the energy consumption of a home server system.)

    Most of your "stuff," you don't need to access from "everywhere."  

    Resisting the Borg only takes a little thought, a little cash, and a little time.  And the cash part pays for itself in the "rent" you save for "cloud" services.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 01:05:48 AM PDT

    •  Indeed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I use a limited amount of cloud services personally and avoid depending on rent-seekers.

      But I do believe it will become a dominant model (already has for many people) and the issues should be considered by users.

      BTW, unless your data at home is strongly encrypted, good luck with the FBI et al.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 01:12:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One thing I am amazed about is THIS site (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am always amazed about DKos.  There seems to be a huge amount of data that is stored here - from all the diaries, comments, profile info, etc.  I think that one reason the site has being successful is because the computer inter-structure has been benign to the users.  I remember posting on Yahoo!'s message boards and they had some limit on the size of a post.

    •  can't fully agree here (4+ / 0-)

      if you use gmail, the 'drafts' area is "the cloud", as much as any for-pay service is. dropbox is free. most "cloud" services that one could already need are already free right now. if a person has a single dvd or external drive, it's likelihood of complete failure is much higher than any "cloud" service, and none of it has to cost a thing. of course, since that is the case, if you spend just a little you can get a huge amount of space and security, comparatively.

      we need to have a better national conversation about what levels of power over would-be "private data" companies like google and facebook should actually have. but as things are, even just the term "the cloud" is just a gimmick.

      Think of me what you will, I've got a little space to fill. - Tom Petty

      by itsbenj on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 03:30:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh the ominous rent (0+ / 0-)

      I can't count the amount of money I've shelled out to Google for all the mail, apps, searching and storage I've used over the years.

      It is a mind-bending zen-like conundrum figuring out how to count to ZERO.

      Throw in the exorbitant extortion-level demands from the fiends at DropBox and pinterest and I'm lucky I can make ends meet.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:38:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Rent" is not always paid in "dollars". (3+ / 0-)

        As far back as feudal times, tenant farmers paid their "rent" with crops. The "rent" system referred to above is paid for with "information", and is by no means free.

        But you seem to be a pretty knowledgeable guy; I'm pretty sure you knew that already.

      •  And it will always be free (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice, G2geek

        Because that is just the way that capitalism works!   Once there are two or three major cloud services I'm sure they will continue to give their users free stuff, right?   If they don't well anybody can buy 10,000 servers and build a data center to compete with them...

        •  like drug pushers: "first one's free!" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And then, "Oh, you're hooked?  Crawling up the walls for a fix?  Now it's going to cost you."  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:02:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  you sound like an apologist for them. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Google isn't free, unless you don't object to them sticking their digital flashlight up your arse and having a look around whenever it suits them.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:01:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  thx. good topic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Perhaps local independents can spring up to help. Some home grown electricity is bought up by big power companies. Shouldn't b impossible for independents to play computer host, should it? And, I ask does anyone here know if unaffiliated individuals could/can construct their own cell fone towers?

  •  CartoonDiablo's point (6+ / 0-)

    is that clouds will become the dominant form of backup as people have no clue what they are or what they do. The Onion video was hilarious and reflected a conversation I heard between my neighbour and her two very young sons who wanted The Cloud and wanted it now when they had no reason to need it except perhaps for backing up a game they were playing on the computer so they could play it on her mobile phone. Still, the marketing must be pretty effective.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 01:36:45 AM PDT

  •  It's easy to get paranoid about this stuff but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wisper, Larsstephens

    what are we afraid of, really? That corporations will store our personal data and communications, which they will potentially have access to?

    I hate to be the one to deliver the bad news, but that future has already arrived, in the form of web browsing, email, social media and search.

    Granted, the more stuff you put online, the greater danger it could fall into the wrong hands - and not just activists have learned this lesson but the targets of Anonymous, Wikileaks, etc.

    But for those of us who live normal, boring lives I don't see a whole lot to be concerned with:)

  •  I appreciate your explanation. (0+ / 0-)

    Being a technological luddite in checking articles about clouds, I've never had as good a very general concept even, as I do now.

    I'm also unique I guess in that I never save any information that I would be more than mildly inconvenieced by losing.  I mainly just use my computer for personal enjoyment and research/education about special interests like gardening and other hobbies, news and politics, and eclectic interests.  No email or P2P stuff on my computer.

    That said, I am interested in maintaining as much privacy as possible simply because I've valued a reasonable degree all my life and also because I know the most seemingly innocuous information can be distorted and identifies stolen.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 02:15:00 AM PDT

  •  Is that all it is? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Cloud computing is like when my buddy and I, doing a music promotion project, rented server space from GoDaddy?  Is that all there is to "cloud computing"?  Well if that's all there is my friend...

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 04:13:53 AM PDT

  •  When I was a techie (6+ / 0-)

    at my last school, the principal had the bright idea that we should use the Cloud to back-up and store things, rather than the services of our local education agency.  

    It wasn't even a matter of cost - I can't remember exact figures but it was something like $100/terabyte per year.  He was just in love with the idea of it (and against ANY idea that I might have).  My big selling point was that the agency was in town, responsible to the schools, and would be more trustworthy with sensitive info.  Their support was excellent, and they knew all the laws pertaining to student records, etc.  We/I already had an excellent relationship with the people there.  No matter how I tried to convince him, he wouldn't budge.  As of when I left, we had nothing, which is always a good plan, right?

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 04:45:15 AM PDT

  •  Cloud Computing Doesn't Worry Me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, Gary Norton, koNko

    Cloud computing will allow so much mobility and higher computing power then ever before.  Why are we concern trolling this?

    Because AT&T might have access to our information?  They already DO!  Mobile devices will overtake computers as the primary access point for the internet in the very near future.  Everything will go through an ISP.

    And "cloud" doesn't mean just backing up data to another source.  True cloud computing will remove the physical server level entirely.  This will all but eliminate IT capital expenses for business allowing them exponentially more agility and responsiveness as they cloud-source their data and access it through SAAS Solutions.  

    Cloud is nothing more then the HAAS evolution of SAAS.  Next will be IAAS (Infrastructure as a service) allowing corporate IT to remove everything down to vertical appliance solutions and focus almost exclusively on the value of their IT content, intellectual property and business-related systems.

    No SMB (or even large business for that matter) should be throwing money away on the care and feeding of some overgrown server farm and the obligatory administrative costs required to maintain it; nor the high-cost IT personnel who spend a majority of time on maintenance, break-fix and keep-current administration of the relic that is the old concept of "Server room".

    As an IT Director I'm speaking more for the corporate benefits of this, but the diary seems a bit focused on personal data.  Really?  Woe unto the poor fool that opts for Carbonite?  Sorry... I really can't see the world where the fear over the inevitable and already starting migration to cloud computing outweighs the benefits to everyone.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:12:52 AM PDT

    •  cloud computing is but one (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nchristine, koNko, wilderness voice

      option and should remain so. It has its draw backs as well as its advantages.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:55:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Think of it as outsourcing your IT (3+ / 0-)

      Because that is what it is, with all off the plusses and minuses.   The plus is that it is cheap.  The minus is that you have no idea in hell what kind of quality you are going to get.   You think that some $.50/day teenager in Vietnam is going to follow your business's best practices?

      There is nothing really new about the concept, it is how computing used to be done.   Most businesses couldn't afford their own IBM/360s so they rented time on them.    Having lived that life, it is way better to have your own machines under your own control, even though it appears to be more expensive.  

      Early in my life I used to be part of support at a University's data center.    We did very careful backups every day, with full backups once a week.   Carefully labelled tapes, etc.    One day we lost a machine, the  machine that our manager's wife had typed her PhD thesis on.

      No problem, let's get yesterday's backup.    Nothing.   It was blank.   The weekly backup was blank.   The monthly backup was blank.   All backups were blank!

      Nobody had ever told us that the heads on the tape drives should be cleaned, or that we should verify the backups.    (We were basically teenagers, do you expect initiative?)

      Our manager, who wore sandals, sported pink toenails for the rest of the year.

      •  Not exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, Larsstephens

        If you are talking about corporate cloud services, then no.

        It is contracting space and computing power on a larger fleet of server power, but the contents are in no way outsourced.

        No one else is doing backups, has login access, touches content or changes ANYTHING within the data.  They just provide a virtual platform with hyper-redundant power and connectivity all properly climate controlled and physically secure to make sure they never go down.  And yes I mean "never".

        Tier 4 datacenters have 3-4 power company lines over multiple grids, redundant generators, every ISP in the region aggragated for fail-over and compartmentalized security requiring 24-hour manned surveillance and bio-metric validation.  That is what you pay for.  

        If you are using a cloud service from a Tier 4 datacenter (like Google uses) and that datacenter goes "down", your data is the least of your problems.  You should check on the health and safety of your loved ones because something catastrophic just happened to a large portion of the United States.

        If you are talking consumer grade cloud services like gmail, dropbox, iCloud or SkyNet, then again, no.

        They are all in enterprise-grade datacenters as well.  Gmail is not going to lose data because someone $0.50 kid in Vietnam forgot to change a tape.  

        People do not understand what "datacenter" technology means regarding visualization, redundancy, fail-over, platform, connectivity, etc.  Its not some room of physical servers people just rent out to any one that signs up.  

        That's what INTERNAL IT departments have.  Like your University story.  Its a bunch of expensive, rapidly obsolete crap that you have to pay a whole department to run for you.  Or, at a personal level, more pieces of hardware and software you have to buy and manage to do things yourself.

        The cloud has options that you can NEVER achieve because you can't afford it.  

        My datacenter has a fleet of hosts that "servers" migrate from in real-time as people use them based on things like data-demands, the temperature of the processor and how much electricity any one host is pulling.  If anything starts getting overloaded the database server that 2000 of my employees are using every second just "moves" to a new physical machine, reallocates 50% of its traffic to a different ISP, dynamically expands its RAM pool and taps one extra processor to handle the load without anyone doing anything.  All while the users continue to pound on it from all over the globe.

        If you wanted that capability in your own "server room" you would have to spend a FORTUNE on hardware and software and then another FORTUNE every year on high-end engineers to run it for you.  Instead, I get it for a small monthly fee and never have to worry about it because my results are contractually guaranteed in written SLA's.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:52:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think we are on a different wavelength (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan, Larsstephens

          I work in a large company with both internal and cloud resources and working environments, and most certainly there is a difference between the quality and security this kind of cloud, and Google Drive or worse.

          But regardless, there are obviously advantages to using various types of cloud services and it's where we, the world, are going.

          What I'd like to fly up the flagpole is something most Americans probably don't give much thought to: in many poor and developing countries, the internet is the wireless network and the PC is a handset, and the empowerment that cloud gives to the users is the real model of the potential of cloud computing.

          Context, people.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:46:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  AT&T and ISPs don't have access to your files (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice, Larsstephens

      At least not easily, with Cloud computing they will.

  •  You can't stop cloud architecture (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nchristine, Deep Texan, Larsstephens

    Corporations will drive it forward for their internal use.  The best you can hope for is to find ways to influence it in a positive direction when it comes to consumers.

    Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

    by Subversive on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:22:07 AM PDT

  •  Talk about potential for corporate espionage on a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, wilderness voice

    grand scale!!  I don't care that they say it's encrypted.  The people that own the 'cloud' center has the key, somewhere.  Ok, corporate espionage has been taking place for decades, or longer.  But, by having your data and software loaded on a remote server, and you may not know the physical location, you don't have as much control over it.  Who's to say that AT&T owns this 'cloud', through a subsidiary, that they couldn't be tapping into Verizon's data??  Having control of *your * data is vital for some companies survival over their competition.

    Which brings me to another topic - outsourcing programming and business..... If you outsource your software to a third party.  Don't even consider it proprietary any longer.  It might as well be open source at that point.  You know that India and China don't have qualms about privacy and/or copyrights.  Who's to say that they haven't copied your once proprietary code and sold it to your competition??

    Control the data, control the message, control the subject.  By putting too much stuff out on the 'cloud' you cede a certian amount of control

  •  cloud computing IS cheaper (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wisper, Gary Norton, Larsstephens

    Some years back, I was a partner in a 30 person lawfirm. One of the biggest headaches was continually upgrading the firm's server, OS, Server OS, and programs. In fact, we ended up having one dedicated staffer doing it all, and he could not keep up.  Especially when a couple of attorneys continually crashed their computers and created emergencies.

    A cloud system automatically does the upgrade to the server. The user never sees it. A cloud system continually scopes out the servers for bugs, viroids, and any nasties, including POS attacks that would destroy a simple server based system. A cloud system upgrades all programing invisibly to the user. A cloud system precludes different users dealing with incompatible versions. A cloud system can be safely, easily and constantly accessed from anywhere, making each worker (potentially) far more productive.

    While I have my own concerns about cloud computing, security, and related issues, there are immediate, real, and substantial savings to be had.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:51:14 AM PDT

    •  So is outsourcing most other work to other (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      countries and buying Chinese goods from Walmart.

      Sure, if you're a business, and all costs that can be are externalized are, such that you don't care if that IT guy goes jobless and can't afford to hire attorneys, then you're fine.  But at some point, nobody will be able to afford your services, because everything has been 'outsourced' for 'immediate, real, and substantial savings'.

      •  pardon me while I light this gas lamp. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wisper, Larsstephens

        I need more light to read your script.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:41:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          agnostic, Larsstephens

          Oblique and yet witty.  


          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:07:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just lurves it when the nerds (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            renzo capetti

            are geek slapping each other.

            Even if I do not fully understand
            or appreciate the design and stitching
            of the many differing gloves wielded therein.

            But this diary, and the many comments,
            both pro and con, about all of the various
            security and privacy issues are certainly
            of crucial importance to our all of our futures
            in every area where they may have application.

            Economics? Political activism? Journalism?
            Art and cultural entertainment? All checked!
            One would be hard pressed to describe any human
            interaction that will not be affected in some regard.

            For that, I commend all of you for your passionate
            opinions and personal and professional experiences.

            Seems to me, though, there is some mehta that is,
            perhaps unwittingly, being danced about with all this
            cloud stuff. Definitely a topic for further reflection and study.

            Thanks for all of your efforts.

    •  I spent 12 years or my IT Management career (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, agnostic, Larsstephens

      in law firms.  They are exhibit-A in "Business that should go all-in on cloud".  

      The Document Mangement database, litigation discovery databases, stupid admin programs like LegalKEY, Kronos, and Interaction all live very well in the cloud.  It becomes single-source to ensure data deletion for APO cases.

      And staffing a full-service IT department for technology needs that dynamic and that mission-critical is a complete WASTE of money.  Hire lower-end user-support staff and dump the rest in the cloud.

      This is why you see more and more Lit-Sup companies offering exclusively cloud-sourced models structured specifically and billed directly to individual cases.

      Plus, security is counter-measured because since you signed a contract with an industry-standard service provider, you are safeguarded against malpractice or inadvertent disclosure claims since data security is contracted out to an expert.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:45:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, yes -- the beauty of the black box (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, Larsstephens

        Hamburger is much tastier when you don't see how it is made.

        Where would you rather work?   In a nice law office or in a freezing server farm with no windows?  

        Where do you think that the people with the skills and training to deal relatively rare, but catastrophic computer issues want to work?    Who do you think takes the other jobs?   Sure, the exec of the outsourcing company talks a good game, because that is his job but once the sale is made, he is off to make another one.

  •  w/ownership comes responsibility (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, Larsstephens

    Good info here!
    Nothing more "spine tingling" than hearing the words "our servers are down". Everything comes to a halt..w/out redundancy. Cloud offers another option for redundancy, and its a quick/easy fix for those who do not want to go through the time/expense of DIY.
    I would not make the cloud my only option.
    Problem w/renting is you live on the "landlords" terms..and should the landlord decide to raise the rent, lock you out, or share your may find yourself "out in the cold".

  •  Better analogy (4+ / 0-)

    Cloud computing is like a restaurant -- you can get as much food as you want as long as you are willing to pay for it. Some offer better quality than others.

    You don't know where the food is grown or how it's cooked. The nutritional content is a complete mystery. But you've given up all of this for the convenience.

    Just as never cooking your own meals isn't sustainable for most people, neither is cloud computing nor is it likely to ever be.

    Big data doesn't scale well and it's only getting more difficult. There are limits that will eventually be reached that the laws of physics will prevent from being solved by throwing more transistors at it.

    There will always be the option to "roll your own" and this has already become the exception and not the norm. In truth rolling your own was the exception LONG before the term cloud computing was invented. Most of the first computers were mainframes and the people using it had simple terminals to access it.

    Ultimately the problem with rolling your own comes down to technical abilities that most people lack. Even a frightening majority of people that work in the computer industry lack these skills. Most people have no business trying to setup their own server for web hosting or email. Hackers getting control of thousands of servers sitting on provider networks is more potent than having millions of PCs at their control.

  •  um no.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this is CT.

    cloud computing is the natural result of computers evolved by humans at the present time.  of course it's also just marketing buzz words.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:06:08 AM PDT

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