Over the course of the last couple of years I have been looking into finding the right way to use “The Cloud” and have had the pleasure to be entertained in a small way at least, to watch everyone approach an idea as broad, dynamic, and vaporous (pun intended) as “the cloud.”
For example, Microsoft wants you to ink that the cloud is this *place* you go to do things with stuff, much like one commercial depicting a more trying to get a good picture of her semi-dystopian family by taking lots of them, going to the cloud, and in a few clicks, the image looks as she had envisioned. This is something that someone any tech savvy could accomplish with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Another ad shows a stressed couple whose flight is delayed and by accessing ‘the cloud’ again, they are able to watch recorded tv. Something that Time Warner Cable customers can do today on their iPads, but even better, they can stream some content live. So again, the concept of the ‘cloud’ is being overloaded in these contexts.
So why is any of this “not” the cloud? Well, I for one believe a true cloud must have the following elements:
1. Always on, resilient, uninterruptible and virtually unlimited storage capacity which allows the capability to share, retrieve, backup and access stored data anywhere on ANY device that has an internet connection.
2. Capacity to interface any application, on any device to multiple storage paradigms. ( block level, object based, file based, etc) with the seamless ability to share/unshare with unlimited specificity to any device, anywhere, so long as it is Internet connected.
3. Capacity to not only interface said applications, but to move and run applications into and out of e cloud as needed depending on user feeling, requirement, or automated profile preference.
4. The ability to automatically and manually create profiles which help determine the intelligent storage processors how applications should be treated as far as streaming, run from the cloud, mounted like a filesystem, added to like a directory, treated as a bulk file to be downloaded and decompressed then run, and by whom, on which device, etc.
#4 is crucial because this type of automated profile will seamlessly enable preferences that users of devices will be allowed to take for granted, and thus, do not have to posses specific knowledge aside from perhaps a password. Grouping of these profiles to like devices between family members (grand parents, etc) would extend the ease and simplicity with which this data is accessed.
5. No one should have to know *how* to access the ‘cloud’ or specific ‘services’ to be useful, as much as smart devices, mobile devices, etc are “always on” the cloud is accessible in the same way. Likewise all current operating systems would have to be enabled with this functionality to extend their usefulness, or be alloed to use new smart cloud enabled devices as a gateway. Remember, accessible all the time.
Failing to meet any of these paradigms in some form will just fracture the fragile cloud model and the ultimate usefulness of what the cloud “could” be is immediately undermined.