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What's the "Cloud"?
3

What's the "Cloud"?

What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
Just about every update or new application I look at attempts to force me into Cloud connection. I don't like being forced to join something about which I know nothing.

This whole concept of a "Cloud" came straight in out of the Fog. I don't remember any debate about the idea. I don't remember any information about the concept being broadcast far and wide. In fact, I don't remember any information about the concept.

What is the "Cloud"?
Is it some relation to iPad's Dropbox?
Do they interrelate?
Is either of them secure?

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

It is a marketing buzz word for virtualization. I personally do not like it, but don't have a better marketing buzz word to offer. There are private clouds, hosted clouds and public clouds. Now to help understand it better, replace the word cloud with virtual infrastructure and it starts to make a little more sense for the technical minded. A "cloud" (or virtual infrastructure) is just a group of servers running a hypervisor (VMware, Citrix, Microsoft). To follow best practice, these servers would be clustered using shared storage, a ton of network uplinks, and are packed with loads of RAM. You can have a cluster ranging from 2 to 32 servers, and each of those servers can host between 5 to 30 virtual machines (all depends on how good your hardware is, and who hypervisor koolaid you choose to drink). Why the marketing folks coined "cloud" I think is because you don't always know where your server or service is running from. Guest machines running in a virtual infrastructure can move between hosts. Those hosts can be next to each other, or across the country, or across the world. The virtual machine can move around and continue to provide the services it is expected to provide. This virtual technology pretty much makes an organization immune to hardware failures (that's only if you follow best practice and set things up right, many don't).

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Brent Schmidt Senior Network Engineer
[color red]Keep IT Simple[/color red] http://www.kiscc.com
Novell Platinum Partner Microsoft Gold Partner
VMWare Enterprise Partner Citrix Gold Partner

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
Thanks Brent

That gives me some insight to the first question. I guess the real meat is in the rest of them. pc

Is it some relation to iPad's Dropbox?
Do they interrelate?
Is any one of them secure? stpatrick2

I am afraid that I find it unlikely that the CIA, FBI, MI6, DGSE, Mossad, ASIO, or whatever the KGB calls itself these days will be saving their data in the Cloud. Same applies to Microsoft, Apple, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Bechtel, Boeing or any of thousands of mega-corporations you could name. Why does everybody want me to do so? hammer

Any ideas, anyone?

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

iPad is a product build by Apple. Dropbox is an Internet file storage (or Cloud Storage) company.
iPad Dropbox would be the iPad app that gives you access to Dropbox, that is the only relation they have. Apple does not own DropBox

Are they secure? well, there is the recent Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL enabled products. Not sure if Dropbox is fixed, I use a company provided service, I don't use them. Don't follow Apple much, but they did recently have a serious security flaw. Something about SSL being a joke that only pretended to work. Security flaws in software are always being found, fixed, and another introduced. So are they secure? To an extent, yes they are. Just don't try to share anything copywrited, they have systems to prevent that. I would also advise against storing government data, financial data, identity data, or sensitive company data (thats if you work for a place an intruder would care about to begin with).


=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
Brent Schmidt Senior Network Engineer
[color red]Keep IT Simple[/color red] http://www.kiscc.com
Novell Platinum Partner Microsoft Gold Partner
VMWare Enterprise Partner Citrix Gold Partner

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
Thanks again for that.
You have reinforced what I was thinking. There is perilous little use for the Cloud in Personal Computing, and real dangers in it for Corporate Computing. In all, it's not up to much.

(Dare I say it, I haven't seen anyone providing an enthusiastic promotion of the merits of the Cloud. Maybe there are none!)

That raises the shadessadHeavy Dudeshadessad of questions:

Why this unholy haste on the part of software developers to push everyone onto the Cloud?

I just installed Autodesk Inventor 2015 and had to specify that I DID NOT want Autodesk 360 (their Cloud interface). Secunia PSI tells me to update Google Talk and the new version is Cloud oriented. The list goes on, and on, and on, ...

Must we all join the Royal Antediluvian Order of Digital Lemmings?

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
Hi CajunCenturion

I would have thought that using Google Talk would be considered time-sharing and not require a Cloud dazed

From my point of view, my work is solitary. Ergo, I can't see the use for a Cloud (for me anyway). Question is, "Why the unseemly haste on the part of software developers to push everybody into it?

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

==> I would have thought that using Google Talk would be considered time-sharing and not require a Cloud
It is time-sharing and it does require the cloud because you're communicating via Google servers. That's why Google talk fails when certain Google servers fail.
See here: http://gigaom.com/2012/07/26/google-talk-is-silenc...
And there are other examples of Google Talk failures because of Google server failures. It is a cloud application and it is time-sharing because you and everyone else is sharing time on various Google servers.

The point is that the business model of cloud computing is no different than the business model of time-sharing in the 1960s. The reasons for using the cloud today are the same as those for time-sharing fifty years ago. As Provogeek said above, "cloud computing" is a marketing buzzword for a 50-year old computing business model.

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RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
Time sharing in the 1960s was done on the mainframe your company kept in a multi-storey building and jealously guarded. (If you got past security you were then faced with the prospect of fighting past the IT Druids and the Programmers while holding on to a pile of punched cards.) machinegun

Surely, that is a world away from putting company documents who-knows-where for who-knows-who to read who-knows-when and apply to who-knows-what purpose!

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

==> Time sharing in the 1960s was done on the mainframe your company kept in a multi-storey building and jealously guarded.
Not talking about time-sharing as a computing technology; we're talking about time-sharing as a computing business model. And the time-sharing business model in the 1960s was done on a mainframe owned by someone else or a service bureau kept in their multi-story building under their control. You, as the customer, were simply buying time and space on someone else's computer which saved you from having to invest in building and maintaining your own computing center. Just like the cloud today. It's not a technology; it's a business model. Cloud computing is a tied and true, well established fifty-year old computing business model with a fancy new buzzword.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something. - Plato

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
I take your point, but surely there is a vast difference here:

Yours ->And the time-sharing business model in the 1960s was done on a mainframe owned by someone else or a service bureau kept in their multi-story building under their control. You, as the customer, were simply buying time and space on someone else's computer which saved you from having to invest in building and maintaining your own computing center.

Mine -> Surely, that is a world away from putting company documents who-knows-where for who-knows-who to read who-knows-when and apply to who-knows-what purpose!

I admit, there is little or no practical difference in the service being rendered but there is a huge security difference.

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

The hosting organization is totally responsible for security, whether that be a service bureau from the 1960s or a cloud organization of today. Once you hand off your documents, you're totally reliant on them to protect your material. The only difference is one of perception.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something. - Plato

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
My perception is that in the 60's version the hosting organization was under contract, i.e. they had legal responsibilities to the people hiring them. Where is your contract with the Cloud? bigears

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

You will find all of that in Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Business Agreement, DMCA Policy, and Acceptable Use. And in the US as well as EU, you also have the law on your side. When you pay for the service, you have the contract you looking for.

If you don't trust it, don't use it.

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
Brent Schmidt Senior Network Engineer
[color red]Keep IT Simple[/color red] http://www.kiscc.com
Novell Platinum Partner Microsoft Gold Partner
VMWare Enterprise Partner Citrix Gold Partner

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
I agree, Brent.

I don't know whether I trust the Cloud or not, but I will certainly carry the idea around on the far end of a bargepole. When I hear of the NSA using it (they are almost certainly reading it censored) I might get a bit closer to it.

Personally, as a private citizen I don't have any use for it, which is the cause of me opening this thread. I was not so concerned about the Cloud itself (as you say, I don't have to use it), rather that every application update you see today is Cloud-oriented. It seems that in a short time I won't be able to do anything which does not, at least, have Cloud connectivity. As long as there is some way to disable it (in Autodesk products you simply do not load Autodesk 360) that is fine. Perhaps application developers will include the Cloud Disable option in their Install program. 2thumbsup

I won't try holding my breath until I see that! purpleface

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

Most of the usages described have been "consumer cloud" and mostly file hosting and sharing at that. Marketers went nuts appropriating the term and misapplying it to such things. Same thing for web application folks, who overnight found themselves selling "cloud applications."

There is no putting the genie back in the bottle now, but there is far more to cloud computing than these relabeled services. Cloud computing is a software development platform providing data storage, scalable databases, message queuing, notification services, and raw CPU cycles.

Here's an overview of Amazon's offerings. They are one of the biggest players in the market.

But it won't mean a lot to a layman. These are building blocks used by software developers rather than consumer services like DropBox or trivial offerings like web hosting.

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
Hi dilettante

Again, I agree that there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. It is interesting to hear that "These are building blocks used by software developers rather than consumer services like DropBox or trivial offerings like web hosting." I was playing on the world stage in Software Engineering (Education) at one stage, so I am interested in what benefit a Cloud Service would be to a Software Developer. idea

It was also interesting to go to the Amazon page. Unfortunately, I am a little short on data allocation until the end of the month so I could not explore that way I would like to. I have listed it on my calendar for when I am in a state of data blessedness again. hourglass

Something straight up, however: a 100MB database won't get you very fat, and you could fill 5GB of storage in no time flat (I use more on Gmail). If Amazon is targeting corporate players, they are aiming very low! ponder

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

I think you were looking at the free tier limits. You can get as much as you want if you're willing to pay.

As for what these things buy a developer... they buy a lot.

Just in simple cases you may have desktop and/or mobile applications where all instances need to share common data and events.

Traditionally this means standing up a server and installing an OS, DBMS, environmental, and management software and administering the entire mess. It also has the problem that your application might start out with a small number of users, making it too expensive to devote in-house resources to. Remember, even if you only need the power of small virtual server for this the admin costs are the same as when you have a middle-sized user population. Then if you need global reach (outside you LAN) you have all of the additional headaches of granting external access. And if the user population gets huge it is time to buy more servers and network capacity and maybe rethink a lot of things when an RDBMS can't keep up with the high transactional workload.

So the cloud lets you tell the in-house IT operations guys and DBAs (traditional obstacles to getting work done) where to get off. You have computational scalability since NoSQL DBMSs are nearly zero-administration and scale up quite nicely. Global reach is a given. Plus the pricing scales with actual use and you have no server farm to provision and babysit over time.

The result is more projects become possible, they can get done faster, and they can cut costs over the 1990s approach. A lot of TechNet/Linux operations types are now asking "You want fries with that?"

RE: What's the "Cloud"?

(OP)
Thanks again, dilettante. When I write my Killer App I might well make use of it. lickface

"Truth will sooner come out from error than from confusion."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

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