What’s all this Cloud Computing Stuff, Anyhow?

With a title showing deference to Bob Pease’ decades of asking “What is all this Stuff, Anhow?”, I reveal that I’m not so impressed with the new Cloud computing, and specifically Apple’s iCloud architecture.

iCloud provides that your digital information is synchronized across your computing devices, hosted by a remote server.  It’s sort of like main frame computing of the 1960’s and 1970’s except the access devices exhibit much more variety and personalizability.  It’s sort of like MobileMe, except it happens all in the background once a device is registered into the cloud.  It’s sort of like Apple’s Timemachine backup (which is a trademarked version of the Linux rsnapshot tool chain) except edits can be done on any device and the master server behaves not as a mirror, but as a sync device. Changes can come from the backup server as readily as changes go to the backup server. I can mimic that behavior using Rsync. This is kind of like Google Docs and Google Apps.

cloud question mark

In other words, to the technical-minded, this is nothing new. Is it marketed and packaged well enough to be adopted and adored by consumers?  Yobie Benjamin does a more thorough industry analysis (click on his question cloud image above).

Here are some concerns I don’t hear often spoke of:

  1. It’s easy to register a device onto the cloud, at which time it is flooded with all your stuff.  Apple Claims if I lose my access device, I can restore all my dta on a new device by simply entering my Apple ID and password.  Holy Cow!  I’m not concerned about retrieving my information compared with my concern that someone else has access to it via my lost device.   This reminds me of court-ordered identity theft where a person’s financial history is given to another person. How do I get all my stuff off a device?  Really off, as in unrecoverable by the best hacker?  Without this capability, the resale value of the end-user devices is about nill if anybody is concerned about security. Well, I guess that would help Apple if the resale value of devices went down.  Why do you suppose they engrave your name on them for free?
  2. So if someone finds out my one cloud password, they will be pushed all my data by a gregarious mother-ship server?

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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