Smoothwall Firewall project

Saturday 6 February 2010

Is cloud computing really that new and original

I have been working in IT for more years than I care to remember, but it seems that if you wait around long enough, technologies that I have used before, suddenly become the flavour of the month and re-appear with smart presentations from slick young people in nicely tailored suits to tell us all how different it all is this time.

This happened with virtualization, where if you are brutally honest , the only key difference to what IBM were doing decades ago, was that the technologists got it to run on the Intel architecture, with all it's horribly legacy memory management et al.

So to the cloud, which in essence is the ability to leverage the power and storage of a remote machine to achieve the task's that you were used to doing locally, sound familiar, it certainly does to me. Literally decades ago people used to share resources on an IBM mainframe to run their payroll or business finance systems, which would be physically a long way away - people couldn't afford their own mainframes - and people would attach via modems and dumb terminals.

This is exactly what we are moving towards with the concept of the "Cloud is the machine". The local device can become significantly less powerful as all the real processing of the services is done remotely. This leads to much cheaper consumer devices, whether they be phones, iPads or netbooks. The services that people also want to use today are also becoming more and more central service orientated, things like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Email, Instant Messaging etc.

I now their are many new technologies like HTML5 and improved Javascript performance that will improve the ability of the clients to do some work locally, but they are not going to be over tasked. The new breed of Intel Atom and ARM processors will be more than powerful enough to cope with the enhanced new GPU's that are appearing almost daily.

There will always be some tasks that are best suited to having a large powerful computer locally as their are many tasks that don't virtualize well, but we are talking about a small percentage for many users who today in 2010 consider the net to be the reason for owning a computer in the first place.

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