Today, Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb posted the question, “Do you trust the cloud?” to FriendFeed and wrote about her findings in the article “In Cloud We Trust?” The problem is, I believe the question itself was too vague. But this “finger to the air to test the wind direction” did spark quite a bit of discussion and further made me realize that the public in general doesn’t fully yet understand the full spectrum of Cloud Computing (and this was even within a social media/tech-savvy audience).
As is evident from the 90+ comments that popped up within 18 hours of posting the question, people have a lot to say about the subject. The important thing to consider here is the lack of granularity of the question and the range of responses. To really ask and analyze the question better, one must fine-tune it more to the detailed components of what makes up Cloud Computing, namely: Cloud Applications, Cloud Platforms, Cloud Aggregators, Cloud Extenders and Cloud Infrastructure. My guess is, most people responding to the question don’t truly understand the differences between these layers in the Cloud. Perhaps better, more focused questions would have been:
- “Do you trust Cloud Applications like Flickr, Facebook and Gmail?”
- “Do you trust Google or others with your critical data?”
- “Do you see yourself using the Cloud as your primary or ancillary IT strategy?”
It seemed to me that the common thread within the FriendFeed responses was that of FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The question itself is phrased with an inherent FUD factor which can quickly skew the resulting answers. However, I do think that this question is important from a consumer standpoint, that of the everyday user of Gmail or Evernote or DropBox, for example. The biggest commonality that I saw from reading through all of the comments was that of “backups.” My read is that people are concerned that their data will be lost in some way, either by a company pulling the plug or a hard-drive crashing or just not being able to physically “touch” it.
From a consumer standpoint, this article is appropriate. As the amount of data that consumers produce in the form of emails or photos for example, continues to grow almost exponentially, they are realizing that storing this un-replaceable data in a single location is risky. Many back up this priceless data on external hard-drives or CDs/DVDs. Some seem to be venturing to the “Cloud” as a secondary redundancy, by using Cloud Storage to solve this.