[Gllug] Cloud computing ( was Re: Linux Petition )

JLMS jjllmmss at googlemail.com
Tue Apr 24 22:07:36 UTC 2012

On 23 April 2012 09:23, Tethys <sta296 at astradyne.co.uk> wrote:
> JLMS writes:
>>Well, that is going to change, so better one jumps now into the bandwagon.
> That's about the worst possible reason I can think of to make a
> technical decision.

Well, the day implementations are solely based on technical reasons it
will be heaven on earth and I'll sing hallelujah!

In the meantime the bean counters are being lobbied with insistence
about the advantages of "the cloud" (and have many real life business
cases, I wonder how many of those hot startups actually have their own
datacentre, for many young bright things under 25 a datacentre may be
as exotic a concept as a time shared system was to me when I started
to learn programming on a shiny new 8086 compatible PC, but my first
boss swore that UNISYS would dominate the computing industry for years
to come with their new mini computers that fitted on top of a desk,
thus replacing mainframes  but I digress... )

So my contention point is that the cloud is coming, so better one gets
ready for it.

In many situations it is immensely cheaper to ask somebody else to
host your development and prototyping for example, or use massive
computer power that would otherwise be out of one's reach.

I just can't imagine a University that would not want to use cloud
providers for example: start instances of powerful machines for your
students during the term, shut them down during holidays and pay
nothing when you are not using them. Yes I know, it is a like a
mainframe, but as far as the user is concerned, this time you can
actually turn the thing off whenever you want.

You can also use  thousands of cores to throw at a problem for a few
thousand pounds instead of expending hundreds of thousands or even
millions of pounds on a system of comparable power.

>>All major companies (Oracle, Microsoft, Red Hat, Amazon)  are pushing
>>very decisively  on the direction of cloud nirvana.
> Yes, because they see profit there. No other reason. I won't be
> doing so because, well, there be dragons.

And your point is? What is wrong with them making a profit if they are
offering a platform that may be possibly improving the way one uses
computing resources?

Of course they will make a profit, that is not worth even mentioning,
the question worth asking is if what they are offering makes my life
as a Sys Admin, IT head, or whatever, easier, or if it saves me money
or both within reasonable constraints that ensure my data remains

>>The question is: if all your data and communications are properly
>>secured (encrypted disks in Red Hat, Solaris work quite well for
>>example, and with SSDs and forever more powerful machines the
>>traditional technical penalties for encrypting are becoming less of an
>>issue), what exactly would be wrong with having your data in the so
>>called cloud?
> Someone else has your data. Not that they'll be able to get at it
> if it's suitably encrypted[1], but they can deny you access to it.

Not as long as you pay :-)

The same thing happens with collocation in a 3rd party  data centre
and most people have got over that, the next natural step is to use
the flexibility provided by somebody that virtualizes and slices those

> For that reason alone, I won't be putting any of my data in the
> cloud now, or for the forseeable future. Or probably ever.

You don't have to move all your infrastructure to the cloud, there are
so many cases in which "the cloud"  is a better solution to many
problems that I can't understand the negativity.

During prototyping of a solution for example you would not be using
real data, but would be able to size which machine you would need, do
tests, change loads, etc, almost at the click of a button.

In some of my previous jobs it took months to provide one machine from
the moment the money was released to the point one was booting it for
the first time. Now you can shorten that time by an order of
magnitude, and once you are done with the development & prototyping
you are not left wondering what will you do with all that equipment
you no longer need.

Gosh, you can provide a server farm with a script from the command
line: no pushing servers around, no messy cabling, power consumption
problems, etc, etc, etc ad nauseam.

There are even companies that in a similar fashion to a price
comparison site will allow you to chose the cheapest or fastest or
less loaded solution in an automatic manner using parameters provided
by the user.

And if all that fails, you can even ask that they kick everybody out
of a piece of hardware and let you use it exclusively.

When I first built a LAN, or connected my PC to the Internet my gut
screamed "this is the future mate, get ready", well, after several
years of silence the gut is screaming again, so I''l follow the advice
of this sage that has served me well....

> Tet
> [1] Although most data in the cloud isn't.

Well, that would be a dereliction of duty of the Sys Admin, the
various cloud providers I have talked to often suggest as a good
practice the encryption of your data volumes. At least in the
Linux/Solaris world this is easy peasy,  since in both cases one can
have encrypted volumes (I don't know AIX, or HPUX, but I suppose it
would be the same...).
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