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back to article Swollen cloud could burst at any time, splatter us with FAIL – anxious tech biz

As a technology consultant, I regularly speak - both formally and informally - with sellers and buyers of cloud services, and I don't know if I can ever remember a time when the conversations have been further apart. While may be a temporary disconnect, it may point to something long term and more fundamental. Everyone is using …

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we were warned

A lot of people - including my humble self - were saying "this is madness" right from the start.

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Anonymous Coward

Speaking of PRISM

El Reg, did you miss this story:

http://front.kinja.com/job-networking-site-linkedin-filled-with-secret-nsa-pro-514057863

Plug in some of the names of the databases and signal capture stuff and that pesky metadata reveals lots of other stuff.

e.g. [SIGINT BANYAN site:linkedin.com]

Follow the 'also viewed' for metadata linkage to lots of public profiles explaining what item is database, what requires high clearance etc.

Their classifications for example

CELLEX database needs high clearance

SOFEX DOMEX etc.

ASSOCIATION is presumably the metadata linkage

HARVESTER is that sigint.co.uk signal harvester

TRAFFICTHIEF - raw sig int data

NUCLEON - boring language tool

MASTERSHAKE - don't know, but having fun finding out

Some boring stuff, COLISEUM is a requirements management database. Yawn.

I also learn that SIGINTs use Jabber with PKI.

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I'm glad this is only an opinion

You mention a lot of vague concerns about the 'Cloud' and mash it up with 'Big Data' (great buzz words BTW) but no real focus, or reasons given for the 'FAIL' in your title.

The connection of the Cloud with the Dot.Com bust, is without merit, as they are concerned with two entirely different events/foundations/technologies, That's a Fail, however I do agree with the 'misunderstanding' the cloud thing and hype surrounding it. In my own way the first mission of a consultant dealing with the cloud should be the clarification of the facts surrounding the Cloud, Not the mystification of those features.

Lastly, you don't give any solutions to the possible (though improbable) Cloud Failures to come.

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Boffin

But that's the problem...

'Cloud' is in fact vague, and remains mostly a buzzword in IT. What is 'the Cloud'? VPS? Externally hosted webapps that do a mediocre job of emulating MS Office? Outsourcing email to Gmail? Just the 'Cloud Storage' part?

The thing is that everyone's pushing one thing or another as 'on the Cloud' and the concerns about security and reliability are pretty much valid. Some of the cloudy solutions are indeed good for the SME sector, as you get fat data pipes on your VPS for less $$$ than deploying the full solution on site. But dumping all the operational stuff on the cloud? That would be bad, as the SME doesn't have a fat internet pipe and needs to go to the cloud to get all their data.

So yes, the cloud has a place, but first you need to know what exactly do you want to put there, and do it responsibly.

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Round of applause

Best article I've read on the Reg for ages.

I agree wholeheartedly. Yes, the Cloud is here to stay. Yes, trying to sell to Enterprise is a mug's game. Yes, security/trust is a HUGE issue.

Me, I think I'll write a SME-class Email/Calendar/CRM application since most SMEs will not go Cloud and Microsoft killed SBS. Thanks for the market opportunity, guys.

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Re: Round of applause

I'm not sure how small/medium SMEs actually are, but given the price of commodity hardware and the increasing amount of robust DIY cloud software there must be more of an incentive to host your own?

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Black Helicopters

One major risk with cloud computing

I didn't really like the article, it was a big vague here and there. Everytime you mentioned seller I sort of figured you meant buyer and vice versa.

"So it's not the technology itself they have trust issues with, the issues are with those who run the cloud services. "

There is, as I mentioned, one nasty risk when it comes to cloud computing I think.

Although cloud computing should basically mean that a virtual instance can reside on many pieces of hardware so that should one of those pieces fail others take over, the reality sometimes shows us different. Many cloud providers basically setup some very heavy hardware and run several virtual instances on that single machine. Sure; the machine may be well set up for redundancy (double PSU's, RAID, SAN, etc.), but still one device.

We've already seen examples (here's looking at Amazon and Microsoft) where a failure somewhere along the lines of hardware caused many instances to drop out and become unavailable. Microsoft even seemed incapable of simply moving instances from a broken set up to a working one.

But here's another concern: What would happen if a government agency has determined that one of the instances on a server is used for illegal activities and they confiscate the entire machine? If your VPS happens to be on that box as well you could be in a heap of trouble, even if you didn't have anything to do with the illegal activities.

I think its a liable risk, but one many people seem to totally ignore.

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Re: One major risk with cloud computing

"What would happen if a government agency has determined that one of the instances on a server is used for illegal activities and they confiscate the entire machine?"

That's a valid point and one which needs to be addressed by lawmakers IMHO. Should a court order allow the removal of other peoples data when the infringer is a virtual machine? Or should the court order only allow the stopping of said virtual machine and the "removal" of the machine image?

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Anonymous Coward

"...and buyers question who else has access to their data."....

"The flip side to this is that the use of such services can be near impossible to govern, and buyers question who else has access to their data."....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/503224.stm

"In a report commissioned by the European Parliament he produced evidence that the NSA snooped on phone calls from a French firm bidding for a contract in Brazil. They passed the information on to an American competitor, which won the contract."

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IT Angle

Nice concept, shame about the tech.

The "Cloud" as a concept is good: even an old Luddite like yours truly thinks this is the way to go. I'm even OK with all the security concerns, governments will hack and that includes your own. Legally, well the judiciary has no option but to trail behind the industry as it's always trying to cope with yet another new way of mangling - sorry managing data.

My trust issue is with the technology itself. Managing any virtual system has it's problems - believe me, I know.... personally. The main problem is when the supervising "system" fails, as at least one high profile supplier has found. Whilst no-one's data actually disappeared, where it actually was became a bit of a mystery. Until they can get that 99.999999999% solid I'll still be keeping an off-line backup.

As any good meteorologist will tell you, clouds evaporated.

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