The

dangers
of the

cloud

BY DAVID MAT

A new buzzword has arrived!
The next big trend in computing promises big things.
Is it all sunshine and clear skies?
Or should we be worried about some serious thunderstorms?
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Photo via flickr.com/photos/shoebappa, CC licensed

Cloud computing

A new Trend

Demystifying the Cloud

M

C

uch like the fashion world, the
computing industry seems to love
new trends. Cloud computing is the
latest trend to rise to fame. Gaining
industry support at an increasingly rapid rate, it is
clear that cloud computing isn’t just an empty box.
However, as with any buzzword, it is becoming
overused and its definition more and more fuzzy.

loud computing is the jargon of the
moment in the technology industry.
Google, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon are
just some of the big companies talking up
the cloud, and a bunch of smaller ones are, too.

The Cloud for Businesses
On Clouds

So it’s time to put some clarity to the term. Let’s
take a look at what cloud computing really is. Read
on to find out what it means for you, the end user,
and why software developers and their managers
are so eager to push this new technology.

We should probably start by taking a closer look at
the term itself. The “cloud” part stems from the
engineering world, where since long engineers
drawing network diagrams have been representing
these networks by a cloud. This representation is
used to symbolize any complex network that can
But for the most part, we’ll be looking at some of
route data reliably without it being necessary to
the dangers of this new cloud
detail all the possible paths
computing paradigm. Are the
inside that the data can take.
cloud computing skies really
“Cloud computing [is] a style of
This allows the network
as clear as the technology’s
computing where massively
engineers to create an
advocates would like you to
abstraction and work on a
scalable IT-related capabilities are
believe?
higher level: the specific
provided “as a service” using
architecture of the networks
As you might have already
Internet technologies to multiple
isn’t essential any more:
deducted from the title of
external customers”
what becomes important is
this article, the answer to
Gartner
research
that the network allows
this question is a firm “no”.
communication
between
There are still a lot of issues
devices
to
take
place.
How
with cloud computing, not in
exactly the network performs this task, no longer
the least because it is a young technology, rapidly
matters.
growing, but still at its early stages. Many steps will
need to be taken before cloud computing will
really be ready for primetime. This article will have
a look at all the concerns and privacy and security
issues that are holding cloud computing back.
But first, let’s start by asking ourselves: What is

this cloud computing paradigm really?

And Computing
When this abstraction is applied to “computing”, a
similar abstraction can be made. The term cloud
computing describes the direction in which
information infrastructure seems to be moving.
The concept, quite simply, is that vast computing
resources will reside somewhere out there in the
ether, or “cloud” (rather than in your computer
room) and we'll connect to them and use them as
needed. It no longer matters where the data or

Key concepts
The computing world has recently been moving toward a cloud computing architecture · For end
users, this signals a stronger move toward web applications · Developers and businesses mostly
appreciate the lower investments required to turn ideas into practice · However, this young and
upcoming technology is still plagued by security and privacy concerns ·
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resources are. What matters is that they are
available from anywhere, at any time, when you
need them. Technically speaking, cloud computing
is a style of computing in which dynamically
scalable and often virtualized resources are
provided as a service over the Internet. Gartner,
the world’s largest information technology
research and advisory company, defines cloud
computing in a similar way, noting that “Cloud
computing [is] a style of computing where
massively scalable IT-related capabilities are
provided “as a service” using Internet technologies
to multiple external customers.”

Services
Three recent innovations in technology have led to
this new way of looking at computing. The recent
shift toward cloud computing is due, in part to the
commoditization
and
standardization
of
technologies, in part to virtualization and the rise
of service-oriented software architectures, and
most importantly, to the dramatic growth in
popularity of the Internet.
A key concept in cloud computing is offering
everything as a service: from the infrastructure
(Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS) over the
development platforms (Platform as a Service –
PaaS) to the end-user applications (Software as a
Service – SaaS). In other words, cloud computing is
taking the previous computing trends, Service
Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web 2.0, one step
further. SOA’s major focus is on the software, just
like Web2.0’s focus is on offering (social) software
services over the internet. Now also the underlying
platforms and hardware are being offered as a
service.

Utility Computing
The concept of offering everything as a service, has
led to a new underlying business model: Utility
computing. Utility computing is the packaging of
computing resources, such as computation and
storage, as a metered service similar to a
traditional public utility (such as electricity). This
system has the advantage of low or no initial cost
to acquire hardware; instead, computational
resources are essentially rented. This means that
the move toward cloud computing can in essence
be compared to the move toward power grids in

What goes around comes back around
How cloud computing signals the return of centralized
computing, but with quite a few differences
this time around.

Before the personal computing era, most computing was
done by large costly machines, known as
mainframes. Those days, computing power
was very expensive. Take for instance the mid
1960s IBM System/360 family of mainframes,
costing $2.5 to $3 million ($20 million today)
each. It's worth noting that today's laptops are
faster than the early 360s. The machines had
all the software and data stored on them and
were accessed via (dumb) terminals.

The cloud, as we see it today, gives us a similar picture.
But as we all know, looks can be deceiving.
The heaviest processing is again done
centrally, but now the computing power is
distributed over a network of many systems,
rather than focused into a single point. This
means it’s actually a completely different
system from the mainframes of old, because
there are parallel, scalable, intelligent and
redundant systems in play with this model.

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the early days of electricity. Before the arrival of
power grids, companies had to invest in their own
power generators. Later on, they could just plug
into the electricity grid and pay only for the power
they would use. Large investments in power
generators were no longer needed and scaling
issues, such as dealing with peak loads were a
thing of the past. Cloud computing presents itself
in a similar way: companies no longer need to buy
their own computational resources. They just plug
into the cloud and pay for the computing power
they actually use. From an economic perspective,
this is a move from heavy investments, or large
capital expenditure (CapEx) to operational costs
only, or operational expenditure (OpEx). There is
one crucial difference however; electricity doesn’t
contain highly confidential data…
We’ll discuss this in more detail later on. Now,
however, we take a deeper look at precisely how
companies are offering cloud computing as a
service. Remember, we identified three distinctive
kinds of services offered by cloud computing
providers: Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a
Service and Software as a Service.

Infrastructure as a Service
The most well-known IaaS provider is Amazon.
While the company is best known for being the
world’s biggest online book vendor, it has always
considered itself to be a technology company at
heart. Serving some 65 million visitors each month
requires large amounts of technological know-how
and even larger investments in infrastructure. To
generate some extra income from these
investments, Amazon has started offering a set of
different services to web application developers
under the moniker of Amazon Web Services. One
of these services is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
(EC2). It is a web service that provides resizable
computing capacity in the cloud. It is designed to
make web-scale computing easier for developers.
EC2 allows developers to create a virtual instance
of a variety of operating systems, load it with their
custom application environment and run it
immediately; essentially setting up a web server in
a matter of minutes. Amazon also calls its service
“elastic” for a reason. At peak loads, you can easily
set up a few more servers to expand you
computing power at will. It’s even possible to set
up an application to automatically scale itself up
and down depending on its needs. The service is
not just popular with developers of web

Cloud Computing Versus Web 2.0 and SOA
As cloud computing becomes the new internet buzzword, it is worth taking a look at how it
relates to two of today’s most popular technology terms: Web 2.0 and SOA.
Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media and (in)famous for organizing the first Web 2.0
conferences, describes the differences between Web 2.0 and cloud computing as follows: “Cloud
computing refers specifically to the use of the internet as a computing platform; Web 2.0, as I’ve
defined it, is an attempt to explore and explain the business rules of that platform. E.g. it’s a
network-based platform; therefore, successful applications harness network effects, in everything
from viral distribution to user contribution.”
On the relationship between cloud computing and SOA, David Linthicum, author and SOA
consultant has this to say: “SOA, at its essence, is an architectural pattern […]. It’s about breaking
an architecture down […] and building it up again using service interfaces […] to create and, more
importantly, re-create business solutions. Cloud computing is a type of solution, a way of creating
a system in which some or all of its IT resources exist within some third-party cloud computing
resource, such as Amazon EC2 or Force.com. Thus, cloud computing is something that can involve
part of or all of an architecture. […] Putting this more simply, SOA is all about the process of
defining an IT solution or architecture, while cloud computing is an architectural alternative.”
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applications, but also with universities. When a
conference comes up, it usually presents an
important deadline for a lot research. When this
research needs a lot of computational power,
temporarily buying some extra computing power
can speed things up considerably. Cloud computing
enables this, without the need for large
investments. The most important point here is the
pay-as-you-go pricing: you only pay for the
computing power you really use.

Platform as a Service
One step up from pure utility computing are
platforms like Google AppEngine and SalesForce’s
force.com, which hide the virtual machine
instances from the infrastructure level behind
higher-level building blocks know as application
programming interfaces (APIs).

The Cloud for Users
It is clear that businesses and developers, not endusers, are the target of two types of cloud
computing mentioned. They benefit mostly from
the utility computing business model. No longer
are large investments in computing power needed,
they just start up and pay as they go along,
hopefully generating enough money to pay for
their resources. The barrier for entry has been
lowered, cloud computing makes it a lot easier to
go from idea into production, hopefully paving the
way for more innovative services.
But what does all this mean for end users, like you
and me?

Software as a Service
The number one benefit of such a service is that it
makes application development easier. These
platforms provide the basic building blocks on
which cloud applications can easily be constructed.
Additionally, there is a large degree of scalability
built into these platforms, as their underlying
infrastructure is in the cloud as well. Finally, you
will not need to hire a professional systems
administrator more than likely as they are part of
the service itself.

Software as a Service has been around for a while
now and actually precedes the newer term Cloud
computing. Cloud computing though is breathing
more life into the SaaS model by reducing the costs
associated with producing a SaaS application. In
other words, cloud computing drives the
development of SaaS.
Any web application is a cloud application in the
sense that it resides in the cloud. Google, Amazon,

A Quick History Lesson
This diagram gives a nice overview of what cloud
computing is and how it came to be.
Research on super computing and cluster
computing (using several computers together to
solve a problem) led to the development of grid
computing. Grid computing is essentially a more
loosely coupled and more powerful form of cluster
computing. (Web) companies building their entire
infrastructure on grid-based data-centers, decided
to rent some of this computing power out. This
ultimately led to the concept of cloud computing.
> Picture credit:
> http://www.productionscale.com/home/
2008/4/24/cloud-computing-get-your-head-in-theclouds.html

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Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and virtually every other
Web 2.0 application is a cloud application in this
sense. The term “cloud applications”, however,
does seem to be used most in describing new web
applications that were formerly delivered locally
on a PC, like spreadsheets, word processing,
databases, and even email.

cost devices only offer a fraction of the computing
power and storage of traditional desktop
computers and laptops, but nevertheless are
extremely popular. Some manufacturers of these
devices even go so far as to offer online (cloudbased) storage instead of including a larger amount
of local storage space.

Closely related to SaaS, web service providers offer
APIs that enable developers to exploit functionality
over the Internet, rather than delivering full-blown
applications. Since cloud applications and web
services live in an interconnected cloud, the
Internet, they can connect between themselves. By
providing APIs, they can use each others
functionality. This leads to what’s called
“mashups”: mixing together different applications
or a combination of applications and web services.
This is one of the key points of the Web 2.0, the
adoption of which has further driven the move
toward cloud computing.

Since we want to be able to access our data and
applications, not only via our main computer, but
also via our netbook, we drive the adoption of the
services in the cloud.

How We Will Use the
Cloud

Taking things even further, smartphones, like
Apple’s iPhone, make us want to be able to access
this data even on the move. Most cloud services
these days even offer a mobile version, allowing
you for example to review that important
presentation during your daily commute. As mobile
data usage becomes affordable and mobile devices
become more powerful, this
trend
will
only
grow
The shift towards cloud computing
stronger. People want access
to their files everywhere.
means that more and more of the
Take a quick note, and
traditional “desktop” applications
expect to be able to access it
will move toward the cloud. Typical
from your work computer.
examples of this are e-mail and
Share your photos from
office applications
anywhere, etc.

The shift towards cloud
computing means that more
and more of the traditional
“desktop” applications will
move toward the cloud.
Typical examples of this are
e-mail
and
office
applications. Google is a very active provider of
such cloud services. Just think about Gmail, an email solution, Google Documents, a Microsoft
Office competitor, Google Calendar, positioned as
an alternative for Microsoft Outlook or IBM Lotus
Notes, and many more examples such as Google
Maps, Google Reader, and YouTube… Another
example of note is the late GrandCentral, now
known as Google Voice, which brings your
traditional telephone service to the cloud.

But also for business users, there are plenty of
cloud-based SaaS solutions. The most popular by
far is the Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) service Salesforce.com. They even ran an ad
campaign announcing that (traditional) “Software
Is Dead”.
The latest trend of “netbooks” illustrates the move
toward cloud computing even more. These low-

In the near future, more and
more of our daily activities will take place through
applications in the cloud. And more and more of
our data will be moving towards the cloud…

Brand Spanking New
Even though the idea of cloud computing is gaining
in popularity at a rapid rate and the technology is
receiving more and more industry support, it is still
at an early stage. Google, Microsoft and Amazon
are among the companies working on ways to
attract users to their new services, with Google
Apps, Microsoft's Live Mesh and Amazon AWS all
signing up customers as they try to figure out what
works and what can turn a profit. It is no wonder
that it’s precisely these (large) companies that are
stepping up and promoting cloud computing. They
are among the few enterprises that have actually
succeeded in building a large-scale distributed data
center architecture, capable enough of providing
such cloud services. The technical obstacles to

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making distributed systems work are daunting and
while the technology has much potential, building
robust, reliable and scalable systems around these
new technologies, still requires a lot of ingenuity,
not to mention the large investments needed to
develop such solutions.

Dangers

C

ommon sense already gives insight into
some of the dangers involved with cloud
computing. When we use a cloud service,
we are in fact handing our data over to
some third party. So, we better make sure this
third party is trustworthy. Even the term “cloud”
itself makes some additional dangers quite clear;
especially when you hear proponents of the
technology and early adopters talk about how all
of their data is “in the cloud”. Sounds scary, does it
not, having all your data literally “everywhere and
nowhere”.
Gartner and the University of California at Berkeley
have already researched this thoroughly. Gartner
have identified seven main security risks and the
scientists at Berkeley have compiled a list of 10
obstacles for the adoption of cloud computing. We
have compiled our own top-ten list of cloud
computing concerns, based largely on these two
reports.

Privileged User Access
As mentioned in the introduction to this section,
one of the first concerns that pop up, when
handing over your data to third party cloud service
providers, is who gets to see your data. Your
confidential data will be processed some unknown
third party, so their employees could conceivably
have full access it.
For companies, this is an even bigger issue than for
end-users. They usually have in place a strict policy
and control scheme over who gets access to
sensitive data. Gartner strongly suggests to “ask
providers to supply specific information on the
hiring and oversight of privileged administrators,
and the controls over their access.”

This concern is probably the main reason why
enterprises have been much slower in the
adoption of web-based applications.

Compliance
Take for example the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This
legislation, designed to protect shareholders and
the general public from fraud in the enterprise was
enacted mainly in response to the Enron scandal. It
sets certain requirements on financial reporting,
among other things by defining which records are
to be stored and for how long. The Sarbanes-Oxley
Act states that all business records, including
electronic records and electronic messages, must
be saved for "not less than five years." Any public
company in the United States of America needs to
comply with these rules.
The legislation not only affects the financial side of
corporations, it also affects the IT departments as
they are responsible for making sure these records
are never lost and are kept for the required period
of time. Even if a company contracts with an
external cloud-based provider, these regulations
hold the company itself responsible.

Our ten biggest cloud
computing concerns

Privileged User Access

Compliance

Data Location

Data Ownership

Data Segregation

Availability

Recovery

Investigative Support and
Logging

Viability

Security

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This means that the customers of cloud-based
services are ultimately the ones responsible for the
security of their own data, even though it is held by
a service provider.
This poses a huge concern on any public company
wanting to make use of such cloud-based services
and is undoubtedly a large limiting factor in the
further adoption of cloud services. At the very
least, cloud service providers should allow
themselves to be submitted to external audits and
security certifications to ensure they’re able to
hold up their end of the bargain.

being protected by strict European privacy laws or
not being protected at all.
Luckily, this kind of uncertainty is beginning to
change. For example, take Google Apps, Google’s
(commercial) online office and e-mail offering,
competing against Microsoft Office. In certain
cases, customers can now choose where their data
is stored. The Swiss Bank, for example, has made
use of this possibility. They wanted their customer
data stored in Switzerland, a request to which
Google complied.

Data Ownership
Data Location

This issue is strongly tied to the problem of data
location. Even if you know where your data is, do
One must keep in mind that cloud computing still
has to exist on physical servers. As fuzzy as cloud
you know if it’s still really yours? Traditionally,
software has come with a certain document
computing seems, the data still resides on servers
consisting of pages and pages of difficult to read
around the world. The issue with cloud computing,
legal English, called the “End User License
however, is that you won’t know where in the
Agreement”. Well, things
world - literally - your data is
haven’t exactly improved in
stored. The servers might be
this era of cloud computing.
One must keep in mind that cloud
in China, Hong Kong, New
Sure, the license agreement
York, Singapore, or anywhere
computing still has to exist on
is now called the “Terms of
else in the world. It might
physical servers. […] The issue with
Service” (ToS), but it’s still in
even be a combination of
cloud
computing,
however,
is
that
legal English, and still way
these places, as the cloud
you
won’t
know
where
in
the
world
too long. Worse even, some
forms
one
huge
- literally - your data is stored.
of ToS even claim ownership
interconnected network and
of all the content you upload
often backups are made on
different
machines
or
onto their service.
different files may be spread across quite a few
A recent example that caused quite some uproar is
servers.
that of Facebook. Facebook can be considered
This was already an issue at the beginning of the
both a cloud platform, because it allows for
developers to write and distribute applications to
Service Oriented Architecture movement, when it
was mostly software being delivered as a service.
all users, and a cloud service for activities involving
These days, the software service provider itself is
all kinds of social networking. Users can look up old
often buying its back-end infrastructure from a
friends, send messages to each other, share their
photos, or even upload music they’ve created.
different cloud service provider. As an end-user,
Facebook’s mistake was to quietly update their
you often have no idea which company, ultimately
ToS, without notifying the users. Even though the
has your data on its network. Let alone where in
terms clearly stated that Facebook had the right to
the world you data actually is stored.
do such a thing, heavy protest arose from the
The major issue here is that there is no
users. Why? Facebook’s new terms now stated
international consensus of whether the privacy and
clearly that that by uploading anything (music,
protection of your data falls under the jurisdiction
photos) to their service, you automatically granted
of the country where your service provider is
them a full license to your content, to do as they
based, or the jurisdiction of where your actual data
please. Ultimately, the protest was widely
is located. This could mean the difference between

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published in the media and Facebook saw no
choice but to reinstate the old Terms of Service.
The lesson here is to make sure you always read
the fine print, or otherwise, there might be some
nasty surprises up ahead.

Data Segregation
Another concern relating to the privacy of your
data is that of data segregation. As your data is
stored, it will probably be sitting alongside the data
of other users, or other companies. It is important
to know whether your data is properly segregated
from the rest, i.e. whether it won’t actually be
exposed to other customers.
Encrypting your data might be a solution, but again
you rely on your service provider to make
adequate encryption schemes available, designed
and tested by experienced specialists. Encryption
has its own share of problems and issues however.
For example, encryption accidents can make data
totally unusable, and even normal encryption
places a considerably increased load on the cloud
provider’s systems. Therefore, a service provider
might be tempted to opt for an inferior, but
quicker, encryption scheme or perhaps use no
encryption at all…

and highly publicized across the web. A three hour
outage of Google’s Gmail earlier this year, even
made CNN headlines recently.
Of course, cloud computing is still an emerging
technology, and with it come certain growing
pains. New services have to live up to the
availability standards set by Google’s search
engine, which is hard to do. Perhaps this is the
reason why the major players in the cloud
computing game are all large companies, such as
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, IBM. These companies
all have plenty of experience in building large data
centers, distributed over locations all across the
globe, offering an extremely large amount of
computational power, coupled with high
redundancy (many copies of all data are readily
available, so a failure of some piece of hardware
doesn’t lead to data loss) and high reliability.
A typical course of action for any company worried
about availability issues, is to use a Service Level
Agreement (SLA) where the cloud computing
provider will guarantee a certain availability
(typically 99,99% uptime) and compensate their
clients for any potential business losses in case the
requirements aren’t met.

Recovery
Availability
Amazon’s cloud services are a good illustration of
this point. Users have noticed that its cloud
services slow down during the holiday period. The
big question here is how cloud computing
providers adapt to peak loads themselves. Cloud
computing is designed for easily scaling to the
customer’s requirements. When the load is high,
the customer is given more computing power,
when the load is low, this is reduced again, to save
costs for the customer and to have computing
power available to other customers. But cloud
computing providers, in casu those providing cloud
infrastructure, only have a limited amount of
hardware and resources available to them. When
part of the infrastructure fails, say due to a power
outage, will the cloud provider be able to keep the
services up and running, or will they fail?
Organizations perceive the cloud as being
unreliable. The reason for this is that cloud
applications go down, this is usually highly visible,

In theory, you don’t have to worry about your data
disappearing when using a cloud provider. Due to
the low cost of today’s hardware, it’s easy for
these providers to keep backups, redundantly
mirror your data in various physical locations,
providing protection against a system crash.
Hopefully, the worst will never happen, and a total
disaster will not strike your service provider, but
nevertheless, one must ask the question: does
your provider have the ability to do a complete
restoration, and how long will it take? Even if you
don’t know where your data is, a cloud provider
should tell you what will happen to your data and
service in case of a disaster.

Investigative Support and Logging
It’s never easy to undertake an internal legal
investigation, because it requires combing through
huge amounts of documents spread all over the
company. It’s even harder to conduct such
research when you use a cloud provider. Gartner

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warns that “Cloud services are especially difficult
to investigate, because logging and data for
multiple customers may be co-located and may
also be spread across an ever-changing set of hosts
and data centers. “
This is becoming a real issue in cloud computing.
Companies rely on logging some of the actions of
their employees, to detect illegal activities. Today,
cloud services offering such extensive logging
capabilities are very rare. Things become even
more complicated when trying to integrate the
logging of cloud services into the monitoring
systems already in place at the company.
We can expect solutions to pop up as the cloud
computing technology matures, however, currently
this issue still stands.

Viability
What happens when your cloud service provider
decides to pull the plug on a certain server? Even
worse, what happens if it goes out of business
entirely?
When we look at SaaS, we see a rapidly changing
landscape, with many startups trying out
innovative ideas, but few with a real plan to
monetize those ideas, indicating that concerns like
these are more than warranted.
A key thing to look for in any cloud service is thus
export options. Every cloud service should provide
a way – preferably according to some wellsupported standard – to export your data. This
way, the users can keep a local copy of their data,
just in case things go wrong.
Viability is one of the key factors for PaaS. For
example, take SalesForce. Thousands of businesses
have invested heavily in building key line of
business applications on top of the SalesForce CRM
service. For them it would be a disaster if the
platform they have based their key applications on
were to go out of business.

five promising cloud
computing applications
and services
Google Documents
Google
Documents
consists
of
applications normally associated with
the desktop - a word processor,
spreadsheet and presentation designer.
Multiple users can easily work on the
same documents together.

Picnik
This is photo editing in the cloud. Upload
images from your local machine or
import them from another cloud service
such as Flickr or Facebook. The site's
simple interface masks surprisingly
powerful editing tools.

Mobile Me
This service from Apple, launched
together with the iPhone 3G,
synchronizes e-mails, photos and
contacts between multiple devices. Your
Mac, iPhone and iPod will stay in sync
(so long as they have access to Apple's
servers in the cloud).

Network.com
Sun's cloud offering. Computing power is
available for hire by the hour to power
on-demand cloud services. Used mainly
for processing scientific data.

G.ho.st
Stands for Global Hosted Operating
System. G.ho.st is a flash-based cloud
operating system (OS). The web desktop
looks and feels like a PC desktop
interface, but it is accessible anywhere

Security
A typical saying in the world of software security is
that “good security takes time”. The cloud
approach to computing doesn’t map well to typical
good security design. The biggest issue is how

> Interested? Have a look at some other
favorites on http://dvice.com/
archives/2008/10/top_10_cloud_ap.php

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quickly cloud-based services are updated and
changed.
Take
for
example
Microsoft's
development of the SDLC (Software Development
Life Cycle) initiative that assumes mission-critical
software will have a three- to five-year period in
which it will not substantially change. In a typical
cloud app, however, every two weeks or so a new
feature is added, changing the app all the time.
New and unproven features make their
introduction in quick succession.
What makes
matters even worse is that the business user can't
say he wants to stay on the old version. This leaves
open the possibility of introducing new bugs and
security holes at each revision. Slightly mitigating
this issue is that security fixes are – hopefully –
applied just as quickly. A quick response to security
issues is a key thing to look for in a good cloud
service.

A Bright Future

C

loud computing offers exiting new
opportunities. Developers and businesses
building web applications are finding it
easier to turn their ideas into powerful, high
quality cloud services. Whereas users, who are
becoming increasingly mobile, are starting to
expect the convenience of having their information
anywhere they are. With these forces driving
adoption, cloud computing seems unstoppable.
Nevertheless
there
still
many
concerns
surrounding this young technology. Even issues
such as data privacy still stand and ownership of
your own data somehow not always turns out to
be a given. Even though the momentum for cloud
computing is building at the moment, these issues
will need to be addressed sooner rather than later
to keep adoption of this technology going strong. •

more to explore: five
interesting links
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing
> As with any technology related term,
Wikipedia is a nice place to start your
exploration from.
www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/07/1
5FE-cloud-computing-reality_1.html
> This article discusses what cloud
computing means for business. Essential
read if your business is using or planning
to use any cloud services.
http://www.productionscale.com/home
/2008/4/24/cloud-computing-get-yourhead-in-the-clouds.html
> A very clear, detailed and wellillustrated overview of cloud computing.
Provides a more technological point-ofview.
www.gigaom.com/2008/07/01/10reasons-enterprises-arent-ready-totrust-the-cloud/
> Entrepreneur Om Malik writes down a
nice overview of the concerns
businesses have regarding cloud
computing.
www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/
2009/EECS-2009-28.pdf
The University of California in Berkeley
presents us with a very detailed and
extensive report, giving insight in the
opportunities, challenges, and costs of
cloud computing

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