Cloudy Cloud Cloud

  • There is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.
  • Cloud is like going back to the old unix timeshare / mainframe days
  • This is a corporate grab for your computing environment / data
  • Where is my data exactly?
  • Cloud computing allows you to spin up a machine when demand is high and tear it down when it’s not needed
  • Major cloud providers have developed IT and security staffs that you couldn’t dream of hiring as a start up company
  • What are the bandwidth restrictions in a virtual environment and what are the costs?
  • What does it mean to society that we moved from centralized computing in corporations, to everyone having a more and more capable computing system, and now the trend is cheap clients that connect back to systems owned by corporations?
  • What about “lock in” ? (We provide these awesome tools, but now that they’re in your code, leaving us is going to be hard…)
  • This is just large scale virtualization

This is a topic for all things “cloud”. What does it mean to you? What are the possible benefits? What are the pitfalls?


I saw these clouds last month. Took the pic because I thought it looked like we were flying by V’ger.


I’m giving you a pass, but if things go too off topic from the computer / corporate related term, I’m flagging your ass. :wink:


I used to send big files to clients by posting them to my web server and sending a link, super simple, right? Some users had so much trouble with that (I know) that I opted to send files in dropbox, which only one single person has found difficult. So far, so good. Everything in my dropbox is a copy so if it disappears, meh.


I use the cloud for schoolwork because my uni has it set up so that I can access my virtual drive from any campus computer, I always back that shit up to my personal data storage devices.

But otherwise I’m deeply unhappy with the trend. I don’t have my own student license for Mathematica. I have to use Citrix to get it running. That’s all well and good until you have an assignment due tomorrow morning and the servers have gone down.


This topic needs this:


So I’m viewing that as a win for data sharing but a negative for availability of resources / programs in a time share type environment. Do you know if the Uni is hosting their own environment for citrix?

1 Like

Nothing ever truly disappears in the cloud. Oh, you’ll lose your access to it, but backups - who knows.

All my EU clients drop us when they consider a product portfolio that relies on cloud services- most specifically services with DC’s in the US.

It’s a HUGE step back in terms of trust & data privacy IMHO. You are placing an inordinate amount of trust in another company to handle your data. The fine print on those agreements isn’t reassuring either.


My proper former employer is moving to offering ‘cloud’ but it is pretty much what they did anyway. Hi we will do all of your companies IT so to the end users they don’t notice if it is a VM or physical, or a file server appliance, etc. They just want their email and sharepoint or whatever.

Benefits well small shops no longer need to roll their own. Call up Microsoft and set up an Azure site and they do all the care and feeding that you would have to pay a sysadmin for. And no issues if the sysadmin is sick, got hit by a truck, etc. You will still get what you pay for here. If you go for a flybynight provider and find things have gone poof that is going to suck but I doubt providers like Microsoft, IBM, CSC etc are going to do that to you provided everything you are doing is legit and legal. Your IT budget is the local machine and subscription rates for the hosted instance.

Downsides well I already saw a past position I had that was strictly server build and release pretty much get automated by the time I left that. The only thing left that wasn’t just yep submit the build request check things and go were physical boxes that would usually be clustered and have 50+ SAN connections and other fun things (I hate configuring ISCSI connections). So a lot of jobs like that are going to go away which is a good thing cause getting paid 70k/yr to build basic servers is dumb and I only got that position cause the needed heads and it was a chance to get out of the on call rotation. As far as owning your data, you will always be able to do that as long as you don’t put it up on their servers. Also if you rely on it alone and you choose poorly for a provider oops.

There will still be some companies like who I was paid to do work for where there are regulatory issues that won’t allow for outside vendors to provide your email, server space, etc and even there they are moving to what will end up being ‘the cloud’ but it will be strictly internal to the company.


This is a topic for moving on from mocking the market speak, to actually talking about what the underlying trends are. I love a prankster, but I’m actually serious about this.

The regulatory issues are interesting as well. On the one hand, I know of a shop that did DoD work, and then got acquired by a company that had no security experience whatsoever. They had no idea why they couldn’t just push all of the data into an Amazon cloud instance. The flip side of this is the CIA using Amazon cloud. I have no insight into how that is manged or how the contract / liability is set up, but it’s interesting.


No idea. Don’t know how I’d find out.

For some programs like Office, we get a code and then can download it locally to our home computers and use it normally. For others like Mathematica, we use Citrix, and for still others like Spartan (a computational chemistry program), you have to personally show up to use specific computers on campus, of which there are maybe ten. This pisses me off when we’re assigned work that has to use it. I actually paid for a license for a student edition so I could work from home, but it’s limited and the full-feature version costs grand and a half. So far it’s not been a problem, though.

So far I haven’t had a problem with the server going down, but I have had local internet outages at home, or even just slow internet can complicate things.

1 Like

That’s the most important thing for people to remember. It’s just somebody else’s computer. Gmail doesn’t magically stop being webmail if you call it “email in the cloud”.

That’s one of the few uses of “cloud computing” that I really like. It’s nice to be able to go to something like Digital Ocean, spin up an Ubuntu instance, and update it using a way fatter pipe than I have access to, for a pretty low price. I wouldn’t be able to compete with a $20/month droplet.

But it’s still someone else’s computer. There’s people who buy in to the marketing crap of it being UNLIMITED COMPUTATIONAL POWER AND STORAGE!!!, and unfortunately they’re the same sorts of people who tend to control the purse strings.


It’s not definitive, but you could do a traceroute / tracert to the server URL that’s hosting it. I’m not trying to make you do tech legwork just for the sake of discussion of course. I was just curious if they had chosen to host internally and didn’t have the infrastructure to handle the requests. Universities often have limited budget for such things.

Been working on putting large, secure enterprise apps hosting PHI, PII in Azure this year.

While it has made me very grumpy at times, I can assure you the offerings are much more than “someone else’s computer” when you are talking about Azure, EC2, Google compute, etc.

I will say the market speak of “serverless apps”, “logic apps” bugs the heck out of me.


Are you using any of Azure’s built in tools? If so, how does your company feel about migrating if the platform doesn’t work out, or is that even being discussed? (Feel free to tell me to go pound sand if that’s info you aren’t able to disclose.)

1 Like

And I will say that when I looked into the pricing and what you get for Office 365 it actually is a pretty good deal.

1 Like

So I did the tracert for the server name given to students to login, and I went down a neat little rabbithole. It’s not 100% clear, because tech websites are full of jargony market-speak but it looks like my university has its own facilities for this.

Considering how much tuition costs, I’m not sure whether or not I’m happy with that.


My project is in POC mode, so I don’t mind.

Relying heavily on the Azure powershell cmdlets for provisioning machines. Looking at OMS/appinsights. Pretty cool.

Azure stack we would love to get into as a contingency for platform lockin and also to have our pen testers bang on… but the public preview barely does anything.

Don’t want to say too much more…

ETA: there is much still to learn, but i would be surprised if this ends up being cheaper and more reliable than hosting ourselves.


I was hoping this thread would contain a video mashup of tech CEOs and pundits saying the word “cloud”.