What is the Cloud? (Part IV)

In Part IV of my series, What is the Cloud?, I’d like to discuss the philosophy of cloud computing.

Cloud computing redefines our existing way of thought but only does so by erasing our previous definitions.  Cloud computing is POST-modern…the next step in the philosophy of computing [and, by definition,] undefinable. 1

In spite of the fact that the cloud means different things to different people and that putting our finger on the sheer extent of its applications is difficult if not impossible, it is nonetheless imperative that we understand, more than anything else, that cloud computing is a philosophy.

Steps toward increased security and privacy

“Perhaps the biggest concerns about cloud computing are security and privacy.” 2

Authentication (user names and strong passwords) and authorization (only allowing users access to job-relevant data and applications) are steps toward increasing privacy and security. 3  This works concomitantly with the inherent, financially sound, legal and moral obligation of cloud hosting providers to offer clients security and data integrity.

Questions, questions

Questions currently being debated by law firms, companies and universities revolve around data and its ownership.  Who owns the data?  Is it owned by users or companies subscribing to cloud computing services?  Can a cloud computing company (i.e., a cloud hosting provider) deny users access to their (i.e., the users’) data? 4  These questions literally open up a whole new field in law that will deal primarily with protecting ownership of data in fluid and elastic computing environments where it often “changes hands.”  Moving from server to server, public to private cloud, and virtual environment to virtual environment makes for a maze of potential legal imbroglios.

Autonomic computing

The idea of a “self-managing” computing system could mean the elimination of “the need for many IT maintenance jobs.” 5  Cloud computing means that with the diminishing of front end needs (i.e., no longer needing hardware, software and IT specialists), responsibility for computing requirements will fall onto the back end, the shoulders of cloud, hosting providers.  Simply put, many users transferring responsibility to fewer cloud hosting providers means less need for the unnecessary multiplication of private server rooms, hardware, purchased software and teams of in-house, IT engineers.

Big Data and Big Speed

Cloud computing ensures that our ability to analyze data and to extract business intelligence is not limited by capacity or computing power.  The cloud gives us access to virtually limitless capacity, on-demand.  In doing so, it lowers total cost, maximizes revenue and gets the work done faster at scale. 6

What once took ages and cost tons of money now takes seconds and costs infinitely less.  This is because the processing power that once needed to be, or in fact was, in-house is now in the cloud.

“To process Big Data in the cloud, businesses can expand and contract their infrastructure resources [or, hosted instances] depending on how much they need at the present moment.” 7

(The end of Part IV)

cloud iv

Untitled, by Luba Rascheff

References

1 “The Philosophy of Cloud.” 2vcps and a Truck. Published on March 30, 2009. Accessed on September 3, 2013.  http://www.2vcps.com/2009/03/30/the-philosophy-of-cloud/

2 Strickland, Jonathan. “How Cloud Computing Works.” howstuffworks. Accessed on September 3, 2013. http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cloud-computing/cloud-computing3.htm

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Varia, Jinesh. “Big Data Cloud Trends–Data-First Philosophy and the Cloud: Part 2 of 3.” Perspectives and Cerebrations.  Published on January 20, 2012. Accessed on September 3, 2013. jinesh.varia.in/2012/01/big-data-clouds-trends-data-first-philosophy-and-the-cloud-part-2-of-3/

7 Ibid.

WHAT IS THE CLOUD? (PART IV) Copyright © 2013 Luba Rascheff

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