Monday, August 17, 2009

The Cloud, be aware

On a Facebook comment, a friend of mine  brought up “Cloud Computing” when he said “this will change eventually with cloud computing, once we have gone back to the mainframe paradigm”. Wait a minute, mainframe, nay. Let me explain. The “Cloud” is a buzz word for the Internet. Since in network diagrams, a cloud represents the Internet in the drawing. This is not a lesson on Cloud Computing, rather a precaution on Cloud Computing.
The comment on Facebook was in reference to a netbook, and my friend mentioned a mainframe. Cloud computing is not about connecting to a 1960’s IBM System 360 Mainframe machine, rather, the concept is that of dumb terminals connecting to the Internet, which is interconnecting to a network of networks, or network servers. The network servers are much like mainframes, ranging from Power Volt Data Storage servers to Apache Servers on Linux or SQL Database Servers on Windows. In Cloud Computing, all you will need is a computer with a browser. Much like a netbook, which is a small computer, scalable enough to run web applications. The goal of Cloud Computing to have functional software on the internet known as Web Apps. Google is a perfect example with Google Apps, where you can utilize online to create or modify Word and Excel documents to databases. With Cloud Computing, everything will be online, or on a server.
I recently signed up with DropBox, and I began to worry about Cloud Computing. Like DropBox, you can utilize up to 50 Gigs of space to store file data. Anything from picture to research papers. I’m not 100% comfortable with leaving data online that I’m not sure I want to share. Services like DropBox have terms and conditions, perhaps not all your data you save on their “cloud” is safe. Possible it might be shared for research or educational purposes. If the next generation is in the “cloud”, be aware, I rather carry an external harddrive, or write my own cipher.

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