Letters to Redmond
June Letters: Cloud Concerns?
In the May cover story, "The Cloud vs. IT," Editor in Chief Doug Barney wrote: "For nearly everyone in IT, when it comes to the cloud, issues of cost, security, data control and integrity, and job loss are present in one way or another." Readers respond:
I'm not so worried about my job. I know that one day everything may be outsourced to cloud vendors. When that time comes, cloud vendors will, purely coincidentally, be in search of "data miners" skilled at finding new ways to sell information from the vast volumes of data that other companies are paying the vendors to host. I might try getting a job doing that.
Of course, after we've moved everything to the cloud, a wonderful "new" technology will emerge called "distributed clouding." Suddenly we'll be able to buy cheap "clouds" that can be located on-site. These "personal clouds" will be nearly as powerful as one of those big-iron clouds that require huge datacenters and expensive cooling systems. Eventually we'll move all of our data onto local mini-clouds, and the large main clouds will all but disappear. But don't think we'll be done with change when that time comes, because I suspect there will be great economies of scale to be had when virtual clouding is discovered. That will give way to a new term: the Ether. Vendors will offer Ether solutions that will let you move your data into the Ether. (Sign a contract to get your virtual clouds hosted by the vendor, and cloud admins will become obsolete.)
Basically, what cloud database providers offer now is just a storage space with fast response. To be able to attract clients to their services, they have to host data for databases in its granular basic form, with no logical envelope (database design). A host (cloud database provider) has to be able to provide those same pieces of data to a number of clients that utilize different business logic. It means that logical view of data (database model) will be on the client side, while data will be kept in the cloud in granular pieces. The client side won't have physically stored data, but, instead, pointers to the data layer in the cloud. A logical view of data provided by a host will represent the key for business-logic decryption. I've worked for more than 20 years in the database area, and am currently working on a similar model.
Database cloud providers must do more homework if they want to offer an attractive alternative for data storage and processing.
Great article on "Tablet Myths" [Barney's Rubble, May 2011]. Here's my take:
In "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the Enterprise had three core computers and there were many interfaces to those cores, two sizes of Personal Access Devices (PADs) and consoles all over the ship -- as well as voice commands that worked from anywhere in communications range. But "The Next Generation" was on in the '80s, when PCs were just coming of age. Is this a case of life imitating art, or were the techies working on the show just that far ahead in their thinking?
Personally, I think there will continue to be multiple PADs in multiple sizes and shapes, and the cloud will only grow and begin to function like the core computers on the Enterprise.
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