On my cloud, baby

August 20, 2008

A cloud is normally visible right? It seems then that the “cloud” metaphor of “cloud computing” is flawed although I understand that it is based on the typical computer network diagram.

As I understand the term, cloud computing is used to describe the use of a scalable platform, like external web-based Google Apps, for computing services vs. installation and management of software and hardware. One common analogy I like is the use of public utilities to secure services where you can’t see the infrastructure.

John Iscream raises his concern about cloud computing and security. His issue is with the lack of visibility which should be a concern.

“There are many questions to be answered about the issues surrounding the “safe” (whatever that may mean) use of the cloud, and I believe some questions are still to be asked.”

Harold Jarche weighs in too.

“…if your data are important, you should know where they reside, as I said in Own Your Data… All of this has implications for training and education, especially as more organisations use Web 2.0 tools for learning.”

I’m working (on?) (in?) the cloud I can’t see and teeter-totter between the glad-I-know-where-my-stuff-is to the holy-shit-all-my-stuff-is-out-there.

  • http://www.daveswhiteboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/small_world.jpg Dave Ferguson

    The cloud metaphor, nebulous as it is, isn’t new. GE Information Services seemed to require a cloud in any diagram or client presentation. The cloud meant, in effect, “Don’t worry about the computer, the processing, or your data. We’ve got it covered.”

    That was good enough at one time for AppleTalk, for Target’s EDI processing, and for email at the Vatican. Now clouds are cool again, and I’m sure somebody’s already spinning up Cloud 2.0.

    One way in which I think the public utility comparison is apt: when the cloud fails, pal, you are just plain out of luck. If your data resides only in the cloud, then it’s gonna be completely offline.

    I am deeply paranoid about backing up data, and would no more have my prime backup (let alone my only one) be on someone else’s computer than I would juggle chef’s knifes while skateboarding down the 508-foot escalator at the Wheaton Metro station in the D.C. suburbs.

  • http://www.daveswhiteboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/small_world.jpg Dave Ferguson

    The cloud metaphor, nebulous as it is, isn’t new. GE Information Services seemed to require a cloud in any diagram or client presentation. The cloud meant, in effect, “Don’t worry about the computer, the processing, or your data. We’ve got it covered.”

    That was good enough at one time for AppleTalk, for Target’s EDI processing, and for email at the Vatican. Now clouds are cool again, and I’m sure somebody’s already spinning up Cloud 2.0.

    One way in which I think the public utility comparison is apt: when the cloud fails, pal, you are just plain out of luck. If your data resides only in the cloud, then it’s gonna be completely offline.

    I am deeply paranoid about backing up data, and would no more have my prime backup (let alone my only one) be on someone else’s computer than I would juggle chef’s knifes while skateboarding down the 508-foot escalator at the Wheaton Metro station in the D.C. suburbs.

  • http://www.edugeekjournal.com/ Matt Crosslin

    Think about it: if you step out of an airplane and try to walk on the cloud – what happens? 🙂 Maybe that’s where the cloud metaphor does work – try to work on your documents without the Internet – splat!

    Anyway, I know that Zoho.com was working on a project that used Google Gears to store offline versions of your documents (Zoho’s, not Google’s – strange that they beat Google to the punch with their own tool). Some editing capabilities were not available offline, but you still could do basic Word processing in your browser even while offline. I think most cloud computing initiatives need to move this direction – just because of the simple fact that sometimes the Net is down. But it also adds a separate layer of security. I don’t know where that part of the Zoho project currently is, though – haven’t checked in on it in a while.

  • http://www.edugeekjournal.com Matt Crosslin

    Think about it: if you step out of an airplane and try to walk on the cloud – what happens? 🙂 Maybe that’s where the cloud metaphor does work – try to work on your documents without the Internet – splat!

    Anyway, I know that Zoho.com was working on a project that used Google Gears to store offline versions of your documents (Zoho’s, not Google’s – strange that they beat Google to the punch with their own tool). Some editing capabilities were not available offline, but you still could do basic Word processing in your browser even while offline. I think most cloud computing initiatives need to move this direction – just because of the simple fact that sometimes the Net is down. But it also adds a separate layer of security. I don’t know where that part of the Zoho project currently is, though – haven’t checked in on it in a while.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Dave – Well of course clouds are cool again, I’m writing about them ; )

    I share your paranoia though. Chef’s knifes? I’m more afraid of the skateboard.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Dave – Well of course clouds are cool again, I’m writing about them ; )

    I share your paranoia though. Chef’s knifes? I’m more afraid of the skateboard.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Hi Matt. Thanks for passing along the information. I haven’t checked out Zoho lately. Agree with you on moving in the direction of editing offline (for user security). It works for me as a parachute at least.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Hi Matt. Thanks for passing along the information. I haven’t checked out Zoho lately. Agree with you on moving in the direction of editing offline (for user security). It works for me as a parachute at least.

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