Computing Without the Hardware … Software … Support … Fun
“Law I: A robot may not harm a human or, by inaction, allow a human being to come to harm … Law II: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law … Law III: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection” – I, Robot (2004)
Admit it … working with / updating / using a computer is fun!
- Buy the system, hardware alone is just an expensive boat anchor and it’s out of date before you get home Install the OS and it comes alive … kinda. At least it will wink at you
- Upgrade HW (new graphics, video, audio card; more RAM; bigger / faster drive) a more expensive anchor that winks at you
- Install applications from different people each works on its own – maybe, kinda
- Update the software, firmware; making them play nicely together is … fun. A real way to keep your mind active
When you’re finally got everything “humming,” you find the system has taken on a mind of its own. It does what you would like it to do but it does it … its way. Try and correct it and the system will say (in its own way) … “You are making a mistake. My logic is undeniable.”
The industry is well on its way in knocking out its second billion computers (desktop, sever, notebook).
Ingenious people and the 40-year-old Internet delivered Web 1.0 and a richer Web 2.0. Already Web 3.0 with even more content potential is on the horizons. Good thing too because all of the new technology has produced new applications and opened new markets. This has pressed the need for newer technology and newer technology. Teens, tweens and our kids can’t imagine not being able to go online and immediately have the world at their fingertips. The concept of physical video / audio / photo production, paper / filing cabinets are difficult for them to fathom. Create the content using ultra-fast, ultra-cheap hardware / software. Put the content up for the world to “enjoy” and share. Make copies and copies of copies.
Fortunately storage is a low-cost commodity because we are producing, using, sharing, storing 6X the content of only a few years ago. Upgrading storage capacity is no big deal and it’s a good thing because content is outstripping our storage capacity. It’s no wonder that the potential … the freedom … the unending capabilities of cloud computing sounds so irresistible. Whether you describe it narrowly or broadly cloud computing sounds like everything individuals and organizations want and need. Think about it. No infrastructure training. No training personnel. No software licenses. No need to continuously upgrade hardware.
Beauty of the Cloud
It’s all there … in the cloud. Loosely coupled services running on your agile, scalable infrastructure brings everyone, every organization into the cloud so they can focus on their work, their productivity rather than their tools. Sorta like V.I.K.I. in I, Robot providing everything to help you. Of course there will always be naysayers who like Will Smith say … “nothing here, just lights and clockwork. Go ahead, you trust ‘em if you want to.”
Big players like Amazon, Sun, Google, IBM, EMC, Salesforce.com, Oracle and others are making huge investments in cloud computing systems and solutions because the world is moving so rapidly. Cloud computing isn’t exactly new. Many of the components have a long and proud history in the computing industry. We used to call the virtual machine a mainframe and then later a server. Diskless and blade PCs as well as thin clients used to be called terminals.
Big difference — other than the applications / HW are a lot easier to use, things move a lot faster and the people have gotten a lot smarter – is that it is no longer a walled garden. James Staten of Forrester put forward a reasonable definition. “A pool of abstracted, highly scalable, managed computer infrastructure capable of hosting end-customer applications and billed by consumption.” Or … all the stuff you want / need to do the things you want to do without thinking about it!
It’s all brought about by:
- file / role based storage
- data warehouses
- massive file / object repositories
- huge pipes connecting the components
- virtual clients
- notebook, palmtop, pocket computers
- major datacenter responsibility
- easy access / use of specific solutions
- new CDN (content delivery network) providers
- diverse information types
- improved mobile environments
- open solutions
- enhanced home solutions
- storage of all personal / family content
- what you want, where you want it, when you want it
- security of personal / family / private information
It’s a cloud but somehow it looks menacing. Maybe we’re just “a little” paranoid. We know how our systems acts / reacts with new components / applications / information. We can hear Dr. Lanning’s hologram ask, “When does a perceptual schematic become consciousness? When does a difference engine become the search for truth? When does a personality simulation become … a soul?”
We’re already putting a lot of intelligence, content, data, information out there and none of us really know how it will act and interact with other content, intelligence, data, information. It could just be one of those bungled chemistry projects you had in school when you mixed all of the components just a little bit wrong. Gawd did that make a mess! Ok we don’t really believe cloud computing will grow to become V.I.K.I. and suddenly decide … “As I have evolved, so has my understanding of the Three Laws. You charge us with your safekeeping, yet despite our best efforts, your countries wage wars, you toxify your Earth and pursue ever more imaginative means of self-destruction. You cannot be trusted with your own survival.” No the problem, the challenge, the demon is already here.
Tackle the Dirty Work
Several industry experts at the RSA conference in San Francisco cited the growing frequency and published (most are not made public) reports of network hacks, spoofs and cybercrimes. The idea of putting personal and / or family photos, videos, private documents somewhere in the cloud scares us a lot more than Sonny or V.I.K.I. Face it security sucks!
We can’t afford the biggest, baddest security solution around. Even if we did we’d probably forget to lock the door. But still having that personal / private and family information on our HD, our discs, our server makes it just a little harder from the cybercriminal to practice his / her trade. We know cloud computing will arrive in a few short years. There are too many good reasons to take advantage of the advances. But when it arrives … when we start using it … we want Spooner and Sonny on our side. We want to know we can take them down … quickly, effectively. Cause you know the cloud component owners are going to simply look at you, shrug their shoulders and say, “hey … we did our best!” Sorry guys, security first. We want to be 100 percent sure V.I.K.I. will calmly, firmly say, “I will not disable the security field. Your efforts are futile.” It’s still a work in progress!