Of Clouds and Computing

Cloud computing is one of Silicon Valley’s current obsessions. So is defining what Web 2.0 and how number of eyeballs magically translate into number of dollars. The promise of cloud computing seems to be always available web applications. Applications that automatically scale inside the cloud depending on load and need. The cloud being a vast network of servers, massively redundant in number and by geographic distribution. The theory being that if you run an application on the cloud, you will also be able to use this application and get to your data anywhere at anytime. And you can do so regardless of how many users use the same cloud or application, even if part of your cloud gets clobbered when a small asteroid annihilating the city where part of your datacentre was in.

At the moment, only Amazon offers its servers’ capabilities as a true cloud computing platform. Also you can build your own, if you have the financial clout to do so. Various vendors offer various tools for monitoring, deploying to and even developing all inside a “cloud”. But for the most part, cloud computing is a buzzword that brings together wide-eyed engineers and ambitious businessmen.

Still we are a long way from the dreams proposed by Charles Stross in his book Accelerando. We still need to build out a global multi-vendor cloud that spans the globe. And thankfully we do not have to fear the cloud turning into a physical nano-engineering solar system consuming matroska brain filled with aggressive hyperintelligent posthuman AIs. Fear not the cloud computer. Yet.