Cloud computing perspectives and questions

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** May be valuable for start-ups and skunkworks
** May be valuable for start-ups and skunkworks
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** For larger organizations, useful for some well-defined functions,
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** For larger organizations, useful for some well-defined functions, particularly non-critical ones. (But note that many companies use services for customer relations management and for paying employees, which could be considered critical functions.)
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particularly non-critical ones. (But note that many companies use
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services for customer relations management and for paying employees,
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-
which could be considered critical functions.)
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** Requires a thorough understanding of the cloud service's
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** Requires a thorough understanding of the cloud service's operations, the risks involved, and management techniques to handle the service and its risks.
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operations, the risks involved, and management techniques to handle
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the service and its risks.
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* Use of cloud to supplement in-house operations
* Use of cloud to supplement in-house operations
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*** Planning growth that will eventually be moved in-house
*** Planning growth that will eventually be moved in-house
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** Requires skills in both domains (in-house and cloud) as well as
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** Requires skills in both domains (in-house and cloud) as well as strategies for migrating and replicating between them.
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strategies for migrating and replicating between them.
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= Environmental implications =
= Environmental implications =
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* Cloud eviscerates software freedom:
* Cloud eviscerates software freedom:
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** New software and patches can be built on free software while still
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** New software and patches can be built on free software while still being hidden behind the cloud (except free software under the rarely used Affero GPL).
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being hidden behind the cloud (except free software under the rarely
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-
used Affero GPL).
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-
** (Mostly in regard to Saas) Even releasing the source code would
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** (Mostly in regard to Saas) Even releasing the source code would have little to no effect, because the real lock-in for cloud services is its role as central repository: storing the data and (for sites with community aspects) providing connections among different visitors.
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have little to no effect, because the real lock-in for cloud services
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-
is its role as central repository: storing the data and (for sites
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-
with community aspects) providing connections among different
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-
visitors.
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* Solutions:
* Solutions:
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** Open formats so clients can extract data and reuse it elsewhere
** Open formats so clients can extract data and reuse it elsewhere
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** Cost and time to develop new software has decreased so much that
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** Cost and time to develop new software has decreased so much that SaaS features are no longer such a big selling point (see article, [http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2009/01/free-software-meets-corporate.html Free software meets corporate needs, including Software as a Service]
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SaaS features are no longer such a big selling point (see article,
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[http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2009/01/free-software-meets-corporate.html Free software meets corporate needs, including Software as a Service]
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** As alternative to centralized services, promote radically
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** As alternative to centralized services, promote radically distributed systems
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distributed systems
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-
*** Individuals maintain control of their own data and data processing
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*** Individuals maintain control of their own data and data processing and peer with others to share data and processing.
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and peer with others to share data and processing.
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*** Requires heightened identity and validation technologies (see articles
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*** Requires heightened identity and validation technologies (see articles [http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2004/04/07/p2p-ws.html From P2P to Web Services: Addressing and Coordination] and [http://webservices.xml.com/pub/a/ws/2004/04/14/p2pws2.html From P2P to Web Services: Trust]
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[http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2004/04/07/p2p-ws.html From P2P to Web Services: Addressing and Coordination]
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and
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[http://webservices.xml.com/pub/a/ws/2004/04/14/p2pws2.html From P2P to Web Services: Trust]
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= Government use =
= Government use =
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*** Often have policies that run counter to government needs:
*** Often have policies that run counter to government needs:
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**** Services may access visitor data in ways that treat privacy
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**** Services may access visitor data in ways that treat privacy cavalierly.
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cavalierly.
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**** Services may force visitors to take on liability requirements
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**** Services may force visitors to take on liability requirements that governments cannot do.
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that governments cannot do.
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*** Lack the reliability, and sometimes the security, that the public
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*** Lack the reliability, and sometimes the security, that the public has a right to expect of government services.
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has a right to expect of government services.
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*** May not have features governments need.
*** May not have features governments need.
* Should governments collaborate on producing public-domain or open-source social networks and cloud services tailored to their needs?
* Should governments collaborate on producing public-domain or open-source social networks and cloud services tailored to their needs?

Revision as of 00:49, 9 July 2009

The World Economic Forum started a research project at Davos 2009 concerning cloud computing, which they broadly define to include all kinds of remote services, from Software as a Service to virtual machines.

Andy Oram was asked to provide some ideas on the implications of cloud computing on business as well as its future operating environment. This wiki is a discussion forum where anyone with relevant and valid ideas can suggest points for his reply.

Contents

Resilience

  • What degree of geographic distribution offers sufficient safety for:
    • Individuals or small companies
    • Major corporations and organizations with reliability requirements
    • Defense and other sensitive government functions
  • Benefits of automatically distributing files, perhaps among multiple vendors (example; Cleversafe)
  • Potential targets for attack in war or by terror
  • Should there be resilience standards?

Portability

  • Importance: Backups are recommended for persistent data to another system or service outside of the cloud.
  • Feasibility: All APIs can be emulated, so in theory organizations can use the same scripts and procedures to replicate operations in multiple services
  • Trends: There are calls for "open cloud computing," referring to standards that would facilitate portability.
    • Standards could lead to automatic, instant migration between cloud vendors.
    • As with all standardization, it's hard to:
      • Get vendors to cooperate on advances that would reduce client lock-in
      • Slow down innovation in an emerging technology enough to produce a standard

Benefits and drawbacks for potential clients

  • Total reliance on a cloud service (virtual machine services or SaaS)
    • May be valuable for start-ups and skunkworks
    • For larger organizations, useful for some well-defined functions, particularly non-critical ones. (But note that many companies use services for customer relations management and for paying employees, which could be considered critical functions.)
    • Requires a thorough understanding of the cloud service's operations, the risks involved, and management techniques to handle the service and its risks.
  • Use of cloud to supplement in-house operations
    • May be useful for:
      • Handling peaks and spikes
      • Planning growth that will eventually be moved in-house
    • Requires skills in both domains (in-house and cloud) as well as strategies for migrating and replicating between them.

Environmental implications

  • Energy trade-offs between concentrated megaservers and smaller systems distributed around the world.
  • Impacts on localities where huge server farms are built.

Free software

  • Cloud eviscerates software freedom:
    • New software and patches can be built on free software while still being hidden behind the cloud (except free software under the rarely used Affero GPL).
    • (Mostly in regard to Saas) Even releasing the source code would have little to no effect, because the real lock-in for cloud services is its role as central repository: storing the data and (for sites with community aspects) providing connections among different visitors.
  • Solutions:
    • Open formats so clients can extract data and reuse it elsewhere
    • As alternative to centralized services, promote radically distributed systems
      • Individuals maintain control of their own data and data processing and peer with others to share data and processing.

Government use

  • Use of popular cloud services (such as Google Docs)
    • Benefits
      • Familiar to staff and public alike, and therefore easy to promote use
      • Quick and cheap to set up
      • Allows integration of government message and discussion with other popular forums
    • Drawbacks
      • Often have policies that run counter to government needs:
        • Services may access visitor data in ways that treat privacy cavalierly.
        • Services may force visitors to take on liability requirements that governments cannot do.
      • Lack the reliability, and sometimes the security, that the public has a right to expect of government services.
      • May not have features governments need.
  • Should governments collaborate on producing public-domain or open-source social networks and cloud services tailored to their needs?
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