Posts from September 2008

Cloud computing

King Cloud by akakumo
King Cloud by akakumo used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

The term "cloud computing" is being bandied about more and more recently, sometimes termed "x as a service", its proponents make it out to be the embodiment of an ideology whereby one doesn't worry about the details and simply wants to get things done. From my perspective as a developer, the most interesting parts of the CC paradigm revolve around infrastructure, service and storage but unlike a great many others, I'm unwilling to jump head-first into using CC implementations.

Growing up for me has always been about trying to get the most amount of bandwidth realistically available to me, often times verbally fighting for it, be it with my sister or the IT providers at my university. Coming from that background I have a healthy respect for how precious people make bandwidth out to be and the detrimental effects not having enough of it can cause. In this light, you can understand why I'm wary of cloud computing. Internet access is still not as ubiquitous as many people, most densely-packed city dwellers, make it out to be. The application end of the CC scale I'm always going to meet with scepticism, my documents are stored on my hard drive which is eminently more tangible than an increasingly ephemeral idea of connectivity.

five nines uptime isn't what these services are pushing as their tagline

Other uses of CC though include offering a service beneficial to developers and producers alike, and this for me is where the allure begins. Not having to worry about storage requirements or dedicated server space for a project is an enticing prospect, cutting out a swathe of niggles and possible overheads, breaking it down to what many feel is the future: it just works. Being able to simply sign up and start pulling and pushing data through a well defined API, to a service rather than a dirty filesystem has an elegance to it. Or perhaps the idea that servers are no longer tied to a physical machine, instances just minutes away from being summoned to life as quickly as they can be brought down.

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