Laura Sydell, of NPR’s All Things Considered, yesterday covered Cloud Computing in her piece “Computing in The Clouds: Who Owns Your Files?“. It’s good to see NPR making an attempt to cover critical technologies. I have found, however, than much of the time, NPR does stories that are more science related (e.g., thermo-power, developments in genetics, etc.) and less so on technology that affect computing. I guess, for one, they have a much different demographic than the one I am used to. But of course, working in San Francisco, we exist in a technology bubble. Travel slightly outside of that bubble and people don’t know what the “cutting edge” of technology is (with some geographic exceptions, of course).
So, when NPR starts to mention “the Cloud,” I get intrigued. They briefly covered it in this interesting piece on cloud computing as a “pay-as-you-go” enterprise. I understand that it will take time for others to hear about Cloud technology and even longer to understand and adopt it. But the interesting thing is, many people have been using it for some time, albeit named differently. For several years, the term “ASP” (Application Service Provider) was kicked around and equated to providing an application over the Internet. This recently evolved into Software as a Service (SaaS) which has strong adoption within the tech arena with providers of SaaS products growing daily. Now, the Cloud rolls in and we see companies working to position themselves within it.
Sydell’s story focuses on data ownership and User Agreements as they relate to Cloud Applications. What is a Cloud Application? Well, if you have read through some of my previous posts, I introduced my concept of the “Cloud Pyramid” which segments different Cloud offerings into various categories: Applications, Platforms and Infrastructure. Recently, I expanded that image to include Cloud Aggregators and Cloud Extenders (details here).
But getting back to the NPR piece, I think what is important here is that they are showing their readers/listeners that they are already using the Cloud in one form or another, through Gmail or Flickr for example. What is unfortunate is that they stop there and almost introduce a paranoia into the mix. However, the points that are made are good ones to think about, that of data ownership, security and SLAs (Service Level Agreements).
I would like to step through a few points that Sydell makes as well as some made by Harry Lewis (who contributed to the article). Specifically: (more…) «NPR Scrapes the Surface of Cloud Computing, Barely»