Movement up in the Cloud

By Daniel A. Freeman |

The last few weeks have seen several interesting developments in the growing popularity of Cloud Computing. Slowly but surely, we are starting to see major corporate investment in this concept. IBM recently made a huge investment in cloud-based business recovery systems. It also emerged recently that Warner Brothers is backing OnLive, a new cloud-based gaming system that aims to make a huge selection of games instantly available to subscribers. PC World pointed out that, despite the troubled economy, revenue for cloud computing-related services is set to explode in 2009.

Then, there was the release of the Open Cloud Manifesto, a document aimed at explaining the significance of this new technology and setting direction for its widespread implementation:

We have outlined the challenges facing organizations that want to use the cloud. These issues lead to a call to action for the IT industry around a vision of an open cloud. We as industry participants must work together to ensure that the cloud remains as open as all other IT technologies. Some might argue that it is too early to discuss topics such as standards, interoperability, integration and portability. Although this is a time of great innovation for the cloud computing community, that innovation should be guided by the principles of openness outlined in this document. We argue that it is exactly the right time to begin the work to build the open cloud.

By the way, according to some sources, Microsoft was not happy with these words.

It seems there is a storm brewing up there in the cloud. I recently discussed what I felt was the extremely messy, chaotic nature of personal security and information liberty in today's Internet. A lot of people (including me) feel like they don't fully understand cloud computing, but rapid movement towards the cloud is happening regardless of whether we do or not. If we move too fast without enough people understanding what this movement really means, do we risk creating another mess?

I thought that this fantastic article by Greg Ness at Cloud Computing Journal really spoke to that issue. The article, written from the perspective of a cloud advocate, speaks to people like me, who may understand the basic concept, but want to know more about the specific implications. As Ness says, "it pays to understand some of the technical challenges and players likely to have a significant impact on the availability, security and costs of those services." If you want to learn more about what cloud computing might mean for you, you should read this article.
Whether or not your ready, however, it seems like we all might be riding the cloud computing wave soon enough.