The risks of cloud computing will be "horrendous", Steve Wozniak said last night, in a statement that will set eyeballs rolling at Apple - the company he co-founded with Steve Jobs. The bearded designer of the Apple II is prone to off-message statements, but the latest one takes a dig at an area Apple has just invested a lot of …
@vic - how else can we get our data across ...?
Remember those programs that share a small amount of your CPU capacity?
Perhaps clouds will hook into spare MBs on one of your drives.
I'm not past the stage...
of copying backups around the working hard drives. The Cloud is like VPN is it not - ultimately a matter of trust? VPN article please
Re: I'm not past the stage...
Most VPNs I've seen aren't really used for storing all your stuff - though it is possible assuming the right storage/permssions etc at the other end. They're just a secure communication channel, not a definition of what the content going through is.
Risks? Not to mention performance.
"The risks of cloud computing will be "horrendous""
Performance is pretty poor, too:
No Cloud for me
Problems with the "cloud" -
1. "Free" - maybe today, but if (or should I say when) they decide to charge a subscription, if you don't pay it you lose everything.
2. "Private data" - don't make me laugh. Everything you upload will eventually be searched by governments and commercial entities alike. Aside from your personal privacy, it's a rare piece of data that can be closely scrutinized and not reveal a potential copyright or patent violation to a motivated lawyer.
3. "Secure" - only until someone on the same service does something that offends the US DOJ, then you've lost it, probably forever. Plus see (2) above.
My cloudiness is limited to using a free DropBox account to synchronize my several computers, the appeal being that the data physically exists on all of them.
Everything old is new again
I suspect that the Woz feels that after 40 years of development, we are coming full circle. Hackers like him and the 70s valley scene wanted to build _personal_ computers in opposition to the computing services of IBM and Amdahl. They wanted to get compute power and data storage on their own terms, not the terms of the glasshouse priesthood.
The (main) problem with the cloud is ownership. If you can get access to compute power, or to charged-per-byte-storage models, that's all fine and dandy. What's not fine and dandy is when your compute provider or your data provider starts to claim ownership of the data that you put there. That is a serious, market-warping, privacy destroying issue that no-one has yet got to grips with.
Re: Everything old is new again
Actually if its always encrypted and the storage provider has no access, he has little or no incentive.
That is it leaves your system encrypted and returns encrypted and only is in the clear for you or someone you authorize directly. This is how our system has worked since 1997. The ISP has no idea what is going in or coming out.
Someone just shouted out at the emperors new clothes. If we all shout out enough maybe someone will listen. Nah, there is money involved so they won't.
I see the clouds as something like buying from ebay or a market. I take a risk because of the cost, if I lose out because I buy a lemon then fair enough. I wouldn't invest my business or my future on it. if it's online backup, compute power I couldn't afford otherwise, or other stuff then fine. If it goes bang I am inconvenienced or can carryon. If Amazon goes titsup so I lose netflix and grumble, but it won't do more than inconvenience me. I wouldn't want to use the cloud for things I couldn't live with out.
Stop me if I'm wrong, but...
Isn't "the cloud" just a different trendy name for "networked computing" (from back in the late '90s), which was, in turn, a different trendy name for "mainframe"? You know... like back when everybody just had terminals which couldn't store any data locally and could only use and handle data stored on centralized "big iron", and when the mainframe fell over, everybody's data was lost and/or entombed?
And that's the big new thing, huh? Turn over all your work to the control of one company, who stores it all in one centralized location? Oh, yeah, it's new, it's cool. What could possibly go wrong?
Wasn't the whole personal computer "revolution" at least partially about having control over your work, and breaking loose from the whole centralized control thing?
Like I said, stop me if I'm wrong...
Re: Stop me if I'm wrong, but...
Your wrong and you are right. There is not just one Cloud Computing. It just means getting functions and services from the net rather then locally. That's all.
It can be done stupidly as you describe or it can be done so that the probability of you ever not being able to get your function/data is the same as the probability that the net itself will crash. That's better then reliability of your hard drive or Google's server farms period.
The Cloud is forever
Not in the 'your data is always available sense' (Amazon + MS have demonstrated that it isn't) but in the unnerving 'once its out there its out for good'. It happens often enough now; company A is bought by Company B who have a very different idea of what 'privacy' means with regard to your personal information - and who knows when/if governments will change their minds on what business is allowed to do with data it holds. Or one of company C's cut price offshore employees decides to make a few quid on the side. Anyone recall Hotmail's change of T+Cs of 10 odd years ago that effectively gave MS ownership of anything passing through the system?
I don't fancy extending that Russian roulette to data that means a great deal more to me than a name + address, and instinctively feel far more comfortable if it remains where I can control access. It can be a pain accessing documents across devices, but if you're prepared to put a little effort in, there's no good reason to be beholden to money grabbing snake oil merchants with little product and no track record. Services like Dropbox are fine for distributing generic documents + reference material, but for the stuff that matters storage you can see is the only thing I'd trust for the foreseeable future.
The only shame is that there's not more 'faces' like Woz questioning the grand claims made for unproven services with security potentially riddled with weak links.
Woz has the right idea
The buz on the internet and in most office meeting rooms is "Cloud". It seems to have caught on as "The next big thing". But I agree it's nothing more than the "leet speak" of the business world. Reality though is the black to the cloud's white. The simple undeniable fact is that if you move your critical data into the "cloud' all you're doing is adding one more fail point. Now not only do you have to worry about the functional reliability of your service provider's storage hardware but now you've just added your, and same said service provider's Internet connection to the list of things that can go wrong. Moving your data to the cloud Increases your down time rather than increasing it.
The cloud is fine for non-essential things like personal e-mail or for social sharing but for anything more important than that it's just snake oil.
Oh bollocks Woz
Anti-cloud comments are to be expected from Woz. He after all pushed micros and personal computers in the age of Big Iron.
His opinions will get lots of up-votes from BOFHs etc who have a vested interest every company having its own servers and thus lots of employment and gravy for sys admins etc.
But is he right? Only sometimes.
The Cloud is certainly not for everyone. Big organizations, and those with very high security requirements are probably better served by having their own systems.
But for most small companies, The Cloud typically provides a better solution. Sure The Cloud can have data outages etc, but a small company without dedicated, capable, sys admin staff will lose their data and have system failures far more often.
Google, or whatever, perform a far better sysadmin job than the average small business owner who would rather be doing things that profit the business than running around fixing servers, doing backups etc.
Re: Oh bollocks Woz
Except that small business are more at risk from competitors. I part-own (and run the IT systems for) a small (< 20 staff) software development and publishing firm and there are dozens of other businesses in our region alone in the same field. They've poached customers from us (and we from them!) but the one thing in common between all of us is that we source most of our business from online searches and social networking - the same services that are now offering "cloud storage" as well.
By storing all our information in the cloud, all of our competing businesses are effectively giving control of our data to a few big companies who may very well have a vested interest in seeing one of our firms succeed at the expense of the others. Maybe some high-flying Google executive's son owns one, and so dear old Dad can use Google's access to all that data stored in their cloud "service" to give said son an advantage. Or maybe Google want to move in on our turf and put all the competition out of business. There are many possible scenarios where the consolidation of masses of SME information could be abused, and at some point in the future, almost certainly will be.
Not only that, but as others have wisely posted, when you store everything on the cloud, you effectively give up ownership of your data. If someone else misuses the cloud service you're using and the copyright mafia / homeland security / whatever decide to shut it down, an SME would be just as fucked, if not more so, as a big company that was stupid enough to rely on the same service. Megaupload anyone?
Most of my contemporaries in competing SMEs are as skeptical about the cloud as I am, for these and other reasons. I know full well that managing a round dozen of desktops and an assortment of notebooks, tablets and smartphones clustered around a homegrown server is nothing like managing the massive IT infrastructure of a big company; in fact it's nothing that a halfway competent sysadmin can't handle between cups of coffee. So for SMEs, hiring one grease monkey to look after your small tin (as opposed to big iron!) is more than worth the cost, when you consider the risks and potential costs of exposing, and losing, all your data to the cloud.
Re: Oh bollocks Woz
Apply fans don't own anything. They are living in nice and sweet Gulag proprietary ecosystem.
I'm an Apple fan, and I love the Woz. But there is not coolaid enough trust or use the cloud, no matter who's brand name is on it.
My data, my business.
The biggest issue for me is the circumvention of government search. Since the cloud provider technically owns the data, it's up to them, not me, to whether they want to comply to a search request. With the bendy ethics of today's execs, I'm surprised they are so willing to jump on that bandwagon.
Re: Clouded Visionary
I wish some people would stop using the Reg forums to peddle their worldatatrust shit.
They've got it all wrong..
I use the cloud for email and photos.. but you'd have to be a moron to rely upon if for backup.
iWoz, more like iHasbeen
I think Wozniak's relevance has been dubious since the early 80s. I read quite a bit of his book 'iWoz' , but found it difficult to get past his self aggrandising nature, particularly since he hasn't done anything of note since the apple II in 1977. For this reason I generally see his media appearances through the lens of 'iHasbeen'.
The cloud is what you make it. We have already been using cloud technologies for years, any web mail service is a 'cloud'. I used gmail online, but also use an offline client with it's own copy of files should something happen to gmail or my connection.
On the contary Is not the risk of relying on local backup 'horrendous'? I have a copy of my files online with carbonite, secure in the knowledge that local fires, floods or theft will not result in loosing my digital photos. Along with other online services I'm able to have access to the files I need from anywhere without the need for a laptop or remembering to copy files onto a USB key.
Furthermore cloud computing opens up a world of possibilities previously only available to institutions or large companies. I'm talking of the ability to access and manipulate large data sets or process complex calculations with no more than a basic computers or even a tablet. Examples already existing are rendering 3d models, which can take hours on a powerful workstation, but when farmed out to a cloud can be rendered in a matter of seconds. Soon (if not already) doctors will be able to compare and diagnose through access to terabytes of X-ray, cat scans and patient histories that would be inconceivable on a local computer and available to only the richest of hospitals if IT wasn't outsourced in the form of a cloud.
Not saying we should charge ahead without thought. Cloud technologies provide too many opportunities to simply brand it 'risky' and run away. Privacy and data ownership amongst other concerns will need addressing, but these are just part of being a digital citizen with or without the cloud.
Re: iWoz, more like iHasbeen
an "ihasbeen" has more standing than an iwannabe_but_never_achieved_it
Re: iWoz, more like iHasbeen
"Soon (if not already) doctors will be able to compare and diagnose through access to terabytes of X-ray, cat scans and patient histories that would be inconceivable on a local computer and available to only the richest of hospitals if IT wasn't outsourced in the form of a cloud."
Mileage may vary depending on locality and local laws, but in my little country medical data pertaining to me is *my* property, not some hospitals' or doctors' , which means *no-one* has access to it without my express permission, and rightly so.
The idea of putting such sensitive data in "the Cloud" is, mildly put, distasteful, especially given the rather lax attitude the big players already have towards property and propriety when it comes to personal and personalised data.
Starting with insurance companies, there's plenty of organisations who'd love to, and assuming more or less global cloud storage *will* get their hands on that data eventually for their own purposes.
The technology in and of itself is useful, but there are plenty of applications and situations where handing out your private data to a service which' owning company treats privacy and property with a rather mercenary attitude is a REALLY bad idea.
Totally agree here. Damn “Cloud” has been the most over-used, over-hyped and over-promoted IT term of the past decade. I’ll stick to being in direct control of my content, thanks. Remember the news article from a couple days back how someone social-engineered his way through Apple support and managed to remote-wipe iWhatever devices he didn’t actually own? What a joke. It’s issues like this that time and time again highlight the perpetual problem of lack of foresight in the IT industry by major decision makers. Cut costs now to get your promotion then let your successors clean up the mess a few years down the road created by your incompetent self.
During the last 14 years i've lost hundreds of files on my computers (mostly because Windows sucks). That's why i'll wellcome cloud computing. And not even Windows have been the only reason for loosing data. Couple of weeks ago i made a mistake by trying OpenBSD and OMG i lost the all extended partitions with 3 Linux distros and hundreds of files (including some multimedia).
As a demented person i'll wellcome cloud computing because at least i could save my files and stop loosing them year after year.
In the last 40 years, or thereabouts, I haven't lost anything that I have generated.
It ain't the computer or network, it's the operator.
I hope for your employers sake your not a techie. Sounds like you don't know what your doing.
So you belive that the cloud will protect you from your own incompetence?
> I haven't lost anything that I have generated
I'm currently having a bit of a mare with ext4 filesystems. They're not good on battery-powered computers.
I'm going to have to revert everything to ext3...
@jake -- Re: @windowssucks
Agreed, I've had some monumental stuff-ups, such as having a backup hard drive fail in the middle of recovering data from another drive that was already failing but which had not yet been backed up (as the data had only been created shortly beforehand), yet over a similar time frame to you, I've only lost trivial stuff, temporary files etc.
Backup systems could be better by being more flexible and less intrusive, but in the end, it's up to the user to be both careful and methodical.
Techies don't keep their data in the cloud. Non-tech people just follow the fad, how do you think the i devices have become so popular.
I hope Woz's predictions come true.
Let's not confuse the retail and wholesale issues here. By analogy the FSA makes a useful distinction between private investors, who need some things spelled out and who get some guarantees, and institutionals, whose day job it is to know this stuff.
The wholesale cloud thing will not go away. There are still a lot of idle assets in IT, and the consolidation of storage and computing power that has happened in the enterprise will continue beyond it, for exactly the same reasons. The buyers may not be informed, but then the Masters of the Universe get it wrong sometimes too. [The hole in this model is that network throughput can't be consolidated in the same way, but that is another debate.]
Retail cloud users have no understanding of the consequences of what they are doing, and no 'Information Services Authority' to spell it out for them. Maybe they actually want Facebook to point out what their alleged friends supposedly bought, as they drive past the mall. It's their decison. It should be an informed descision. It isn't.
Finally, anyone who has lived in a police state can see that this retail cloudwalking has the potential to get much uglier.
It's the future:
Because finally content providers will be able to achieve the holy grail that they have craved for so long.
Subscription based access to content instead of allowing punters to pay a one-off fee to purchase films/tv-shows/books/etc.
Cue the music; "There's no stoppin; us now...."
We promise nothing!
The problem with the cloud is the T&Cs.
The cloud service provider clould claim they offer 100% uptime, fast processing times and unbreakable security. They might even go to great lengths to give weight to those claims and foster a good reputation.
However, when a problem does occur (and it will) they will simply point to a clause hidden near the end of their service agreement that will say something along the lines of "If anything goes wrong, tough luck mate! We are responsible for nothing".
Until cloud providers are willing to offer cast iron service availability and reliability guarantees the cloud will alway be a risky proposition.
Joni said it best
i've looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow, it's cloud illusions i recall, ...
Cloudy with occasional showers....
It's entirely possible for two or more people to talk about Cloud technology, be well informed and know what you are talking about and yet.... both of you are talking about entirely different things. It's worse than poorly defined, it is as if confusion is an agenda!
Woz has earned the right to express his views on any aspect of IT, and I will always listen carefully to what he says. His word is not the last word on the subject, but I value his input.
"The Cloud" has got to be the most b*****it term of the decade. For some reason, The Bosses think it's some kind of drokkin' magic. Wake up, morons! It's a SAN, one with a VPN on the front. It's not a cloud, it's a bloody big box of HDDs. Everything is still recorded on platters, it's still just hardware, not some kind of magic smoke.
If you're a SME, then maybe it's more cost effective to host stuff externally. Personally, I think they'd be better off hiring someone who knows what they're doing and run all storage in house.
Nukes, cos that's how the Cloud will finish for too many businesses.
Why does everyone who agrees with Woz want to tarnish the whole cloud concept with the same brush? Just take your old fashion floppy drives out your arses and think for a second. After reading what Woz has said, he's missed the whole point as well. Shoval out the rubbish and you'll find out why cloud services will exist for centuries.
It's a buzz word for a lot companies wanting to jump on the bandwagon to make some extra dosh and these corp's will fail in the long run. However, properly run cloud services such as Amazon EC2 know what it is. Only obtaining the resources you need where running your own boxes inhouse, you'd be wasting 75% of resources you own to run applications that need to be scalable on-demand with some sort of failover with a clustered system. It's not always about data holding. You'd have to be ultimately stupid to trust a cloud service as your singular storage system (like iCloud). It's handy to store media that you can afford to lose (apart from personal photos). Sharing contacts, music, videos, secondary processed photos across multiple devices makes sense rather than non-sensical method of using USB cables and copy/pasting. However, dragging my whole life tech life with personal documents, photos etc onto dropbox for example. No.
You all forget this is a very immature concept that needs some time and expansion to make sure standards are introduced to overcome the initial problems.
Would you not prefer all your company's services (e-mail/file/sharepoint/printing/database) shared across a private cloud worth of machines that share the workload and reduce the cost of having dedicated hardware per service? That's cloud tech, clustered tech, shared tech whatever you want to call it. You take your risks by allowing a third-party to do anything, not just cloud. SMEs just need precautions and need to understand a backup is needed to move elsewhere quickly if it effects their business. Same with anything else.
Sounds like Woz's time for innovation is up to be honest. Technologicalaries are not visionaries.
The Cloud - or as I put it to my bosses - the new word for 'outsourcing'
Cloud? Good metaphor
The problem with clouds is that you never know where they're going to end up, nor when they're going to burst and rain their contents all over the shop. Cloud services are the same.
Anybody remember Oddpost? A sweet little online email service, at the time it was years ahead of anything else around - better than GMail or Hotmail are today IMO, albiet lacking any pgp or other security.
I sighned up, used them exclusively - nice handy POP3 options so i could even collect and send my work email. Then Yahoo! bought them. Sod that.
Gmail? Google Docs? Now it's Google Drive, and a whole new EULA, and suddenly they *really* want you to share your documents. NO. I use it for my personal stuff, I want features aimed at ME working with ME.
Goodbye to that then.
There's only one cloud service that I find useful these days, and that's EC2. I don't have to leave anything on it, but it's there for when I want to do stuff - it's extra horsepower. Would I leave all my important personal stuff in an EBS or S3? Hell no. I don't want it there.
That's not to say I don't want a solution that lets me access my data from anywhere, and scales with the amount of crap I collect over the years (too many HDDs sitting on shelves, I don't even know what's on them anymore). But iCloud? Google Drive? Dropbox?
Sorry, these aren't the solutions to an all-your-shit-in-the-sky-forever pipe dream, because in five years time I'll have gathered enough stuff to fill their existing quotas several times over, and they'll either want to charge extra for extra storage, or they'll have been bought by Yahoo!.
There's a better way, we just don't know what it is yet, but when I see it, I'm buying shares.
Permanent Independent Secret Storage vs Accessible and Relatively Secure Electronic data
Acronym Alert !
In any event I challenge most people to read that deck of punch cards you found moldering in the basement or the DC300A cassette tape with your best video games from 1977(yes I still have it and there were some).
The 45,000 year old French cave paintings are the most persistent human communication we have. If we really want to worry about the future we should be talking about a universal storage medium whose properties transcend device limits. This in fact is basically what the stone tablet and the vinyl record almost have in common.
It is possible now with nanotech to build structures that have multiple levels of data. Very soon we will be using spin to store information and data densities will make another enormous leap.
We can at a level still perceptible to the human eye and in material obdurate and nearly diamond hard build both a simple vocabulary and language map along with instructions on how to read the information levels stored in the media. This approach should become a standard for all future high density media.
Excuse me for opening a new line of discussion but really let's put cloud vs hardware to bed OK? Let's all tell the truth we all (including Woz) use both and are not likely to stop any time soon. Anyone who makes the extreme effort to be completely clear of cloud or hardware is already in serious trouble and needs very much to get a life.
- IT bloke publishes comprehensive maps of CALL CENTRE menu HELL
- Analysis Who is the mystery sixth member of LulzSec?
- Comment Congress: It's not the Glass that's scary - It's the GOOGLE
- Analysis Hey, Teflon Ballmer. Look, isn't it time? You know, time to quit?
- Murdoch Facebook gloat: You're like my $580m, 'CRAPPY' MySpace