The True Weight of a Cloud

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So, you’ve heard of Cloud Computing. Or, maybe you haven’t.
For those who don’t know what Cloud Computing is, here is a definition, per Wikipedia:

“Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like a public utility.”

Well, just how much does a cloud actually weigh?

The Cloud consists of 100s, even 1,000s, of servers spread throughout the world. Basically it is just the Internet, taken to the next level.

“Shared resources, software and information” includes Photos, Documents, Financial Records, and Music, essentially everything that is currently stored on your Desktop PC or Notebook, including the Operating System.

All of these files would be stored ‘on the cloud’.

The long term goal of Cloud Computing would be to obsolete the current computer as we know it.

Your current computer would be replaced by an always internet connected device that, once powered on, would simply open up ‘the cloud’.

It would have no local operating system, no local file storage. It would basically be ‘a window’ into all the data stored on the cloud that is available to you.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

I mean all your Files, Favorites, Music, and Documents, all available to you. No matter where in the world you might be. Just like if you were sitting at your pc now.

Here is why I don’t think so.

“All your Files…….available to you. No matter where in the world you are.”

Yeah, you and any marginally skilled, bored high school kid who feels like hacking into them.

Think about that the next time you review your tax records from last year.

Have you ever had a computer virus on your personal pc? Well, ‘the cloud’ is just one world-wide pc. Try and imagine the impact of a single, seriously nasty virus ‘on the cloud.’

Oh, you say all the users in the world, all the country governments, everyone, all have every scrap of electronic data they use, stored on the cloud.

A virus you say? …..hmm, think about it.

A recent anti-virus software update accidentally considers a ‘core operating system file’ malicious and crashes 1000s of PCs.

Oops, sucks to be those software customers.

Consider the impact of that when the cloud is essentially a single, world-wide operating system.

A server failure in your internet based email providers server farm causes all of their customers to lose their email for a couple hours.

Multiply that by about 1,000,000 times and include the entire planet’s information flow.

Your hard drive in your current PC fails because, let’s face, hardware fails. You lose everything. All your files, photos, etc. are gone.

Now consider the cloud equivalent. A fire in a major cloud provider server farm destroys all the data for an entire country.

The 9/11 terrorist attack was the worst tragedy in U.S history. Killed over 2,000 people.

Now consider those same terrorists targeting a major cloud server farm, or two. While many server farms are essentially unmanned, so no actual innocent lives would be lost, consider the actual impact. Entire governments would be crippled, national economies destroyed.

Now just what is the ‘true weight of a cloud’? Think about it.