The Philosophy of Cloud

With several great posts recently about the cloud and its definitions I decided to jump in from maybe a new perspective.
So check out these links:
The Cloud is Kicking my Butt - Mike DiPetrillo

Is Virtualization Required for the Cloud to Work? - Mike DiPetrillo

Cloud Butt Kicking - Jason Boche

So to relate Cloud Computing to Philosophy. I have to define the previous way of computing would be the Modern way of thought. It fit with the very way most Engineers thought. It is linear. A + B = C computing design made sense. Faster CPU’s means faster programs. More memory meant bigger programs running faster. More Storage means we could store more and more data. Faster Networks let us move that data faster and faster.
Cloud computing redefines our existing way of thought but only does so be erasing our previous definitions. Cloud computing is POST-modern. It is the next step in the philosophy of computing. Postmodern philosophy is defined by being undefinable. The more you try to label and categorize the more it wiggles away. I have read a lot about the Cloud abstracting computing away from our traditional way of defining data center, computing, or information systems. So some thoughts on what this actually means to me.

  1. It is ok that Cloud can mean 1000 different things to 1000 different people. That is what makes it “cloud”. What matters is what you experience from the cloud. Virtual Desktops? ok. Distributed Computing or Software as a Service? ok. Online backups? sure. Virtual Firewalls?. You bet! Going on and on…

  2. Claiming to be the sole provider of what is really “cloud” will make you seem very “un-cloud”. Cloud computing will be such that when we hold it tighter the more we don’t understand it.

  3. As we abstract our data away from the linear thought of the PC in front of me uploads and downloads data to various servers through various network devices sitting in various data centers in certain cities. We will work on relationships and experiences. As a consultant my goal would be to show how your information will “relate” to others and how you interact with the information.

What does all this mean for privacy, security and identity?
Our technical devices will be “connection points” to what is happening in the cloud.

This is getting rambling now so I will stop.

Written on March 30, 2009