0908: "The Cloud"

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby markfiend » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:12 pm UTC

rcox1 wrote:all too often processes fail due to an unnoticed single point of venerability.

If that's a typo, it's wonderfully apt. I would imagine that a single point of vulnerability is quite frequently venerable.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Shadowman615 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:53 pm UTC

'); DROP TABLE users; wrote:
freyyr890 wrote:I absolutely love this, because it helps expose all the overhyped marketing bullshit that "the cloud" is.

The cloud is the perfect marketing term: soft, indistinct, fluffy, and inviting. It's rapidly on its way to becoming the new High Definition or Web 2.0, as it's being improperly applied to just about every product imaginable. If a product somehow stores data on some server somewhere, it's now Cloud.

With the exception of actual elastic systems like Amazon E2, there's no new technology here (and elastic systems are really just VPSes that load balance nicely). They're also quite overpriced: Amazon charges $54/yr for their basic "micro" instance with two processor cores and 600 megs of RAM. For about the same price, you can get a budget OpenVZ VPS with one of the many cheap hosting companies out there with the same amount of RAM, access to 4-8 cores, and much better uptime - the most important thing of all in hosting. Plus, bandwidth is built into the cost of a VPS - Amazon charges fifteen cents per gigabyte, which will get expensive quite quickly.

tl;dr: Cloud is just more marketing kool-aid.


Well, yes and no. The term "cloud" is definitely being over- and mis-used, but I wouldn't agree that it's an entirely pointless term. It's just a new way of referring to data storage on a server somewhere, which is accessible from any location with an Internet connection. I'm not sure what's wrong with that - calling it "cloud" just gives it a nice friendly name that the average person can understand.


My understanding of the term when it first started getting thrown around a few years ago was that it was supposed to refer more to running applications remotely -- using the server's processing power to work while your computer more like an old-school dumb terminal. Although in the real-world it turned out that most people really don't need that, other than for data storage.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby A_of_s_t » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:56 pm UTC

Is no one else amazed that that little box holds thousands of petabytes of data?
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby freyyr890 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:58 pm UTC

Invisiblemoose wrote:
freyyr890 wrote:They're also quite overpriced: Amazon charges $54/yr for their basic "micro" instance with two processor cores and 600 megs of RAM. For about the same price, you can get a budget OpenVZ VPS with one of the many cheap hosting companies out there with the same amount of RAM, access to 4-8 cores, and much better uptime - the most important thing of all in hosting. .

For ~$54/yr? Where do you recommend?


Check out LowEndBox, it lists various budget VPS specials.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Hughes » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:00 pm UTC

HAT GUY IS BACK! *cheers*

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Scott Auld » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:30 pm UTC

Definitely makes up for Ages.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:46 pm UTC

For whatever reason I thought of this:

Unicorn: The cloud is everything: all that once was, and all that will be! The cloud
controls time and space, love and death! The cloud can see into your mind,
the cloud can see into YOUR SOULLLLL.
Charlie : Really, the cloud can do all that?
Unicorn: Hahahaha; ...no.




A_of_s_t wrote:Is no one else amazed that that little box holds thousands of petabytes of data?

Caching. Duh.
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Mr. Burke
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Mr. Burke » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:59 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:
A_of_s_t wrote:Is no one else amazed that that little box holds thousands of petabytes of data?

Caching. Duh.
Caching, by its very nature, is a duplication of data. It still has to be in the “cloud.”

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rhhardin
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby rhhardin » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

Everything is stored in constantly circulating emails.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby jc » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:36 pm UTC

meatyochre wrote:Never put all your eggs in one basket.


Heh. The computer biz has a long history of doing exactly that.

In a few months, we'll be celebrating (;-) the 10th anniversary of the demolition of the World Trade Center in New York. One of the detail stories that came out of it was that network access in lower Manhattan was seriously impacted for several years. It seems that the local phone company that provided most of the high-capacity lines had routed them through their right-of-way under the WTC buildings. The WTC collapse destroyed much of the core comm capacity of Manhattan Island. Why would the phone company do this? Well, their unstated policy all along has been to charge the max they can for oversold lines, and then supply the minimal hardware that they think they can get away with. There was very little redundant capacity, so when the cables under the WTC were squashed, there were hardly any alternate paths. That old saw about "The Internet detects packet loss and routes around it"? Not in Manhattan; there was no alternate route, and a decade later, there still isn't.

Lest we think this is an isolated problem, consider that one of the standard textbook examples of such failures was the incident back in the early 1980s, when the (mostly academic) user community here in New England felt secure, because they had seven different high-speed links to the outside world, and all seven couldn't crash at the same time, right? But the phone company that leased the physical lines had converted them all to "virtual circuits", and had routed them all through a single cable. Then a maintenance guy came along with a backhoe, cut that cable, and cut all seven "independent" lines simultaneously. This is usually used to illustrate why in a multi-level design, the upper layers must be able to see into the lower layers and verify that they are what the supplier claims they are. Again, to minimize investment in physical property, the vendor had put all its comm "eggs" into a single "basket", a new sort of high-capacity cable that could emulate all seven of the previous high-speed lines.

There's little sign that commercial vendors have learned any lessons from this. Their policy is still to maximize what you and I pay for their services, while providing us with the minimal hardware and services that they think they can get away with. We can expect stories like this to be repeated in the indefinite future. We may think we're making our stuff safer by taking advantage of redundancy in the "cloud" or whatever the next buzzword is. But they'll continue to map these services onto minimal hardware with little or no redundancy, to save their costs. And they'll continue to charge us for the redundancy that they don't actually provide. We'll only learn this after a major disaster, when we learn that our data is gone forever.

(Unless, of course, there's a copy available from one of their customers who bought the copy from the comm company "for commercial purposes". ;-)

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby addams » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:13 pm UTC

glasnt wrote:I've worked it out.

Black Hat Guy is Henry van Statten

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It seems so lucky to live in a world of other people and none of them would trip over a cord. A world of thoughtful people. I am quite jealous of a stick figure.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby FrederikVds » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:23 pm UTC

This reminded me of something when I read it this morning, but I couldn't remember what. Suddenly I realised: it reminds me of my economy class two years ago. This is actually how our financial system works.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby vodka.cobra » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:57 pm UTC

Black Hat Guy needs to go back to callous, anonymous maliciousness. Preferably in psychologically damaging ways.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Eternal Density » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:30 am UTC

McHell wrote:Excellent comic... I've always had a creeping feeling like that. Amazon's cloud seems to be like that, going for a liedown in one block.

"Huge, amorphous network of servers" would be more menacing as a "huge, amphibious network of servers" or worrying as a "huge, amorous network of servers somewhere".
McHell wrote: Amazon's cloud seems to be like that, going for a liedown in one block.
McHell wrote: going for a liedown in one block.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Alex-J » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:35 am UTC

vodka.cobra wrote:Black Hat Guy needs to go back to callous, anonymous maliciousness. Preferably in psychologically damaging ways.


Second.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby nowhereman » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:48 am UTC

Two questions crossed my mind when I read this comic.

1: Is anyone else terrified that BHG has this much power? Given that he used Ebay to send bobcats and electrical engineering for nerd sniping, I am quite terrified that he has what would amount to nearly unlimited power over the world's shared data.

2: Given practically unlimited resources, how easy would it be for someone to do this? I know companies do on occasion buy time from other companies, but it seems that the service would have to be very inexpensive and very fast (and presumably very reliable) in order to convince a company that it is more cost effective to host all their data on someone else's servers rather than get their own. This is not to say I think it impossible, but that this would be a very expensive way to control the internet. This leads me to question 3

3: How much would you guys be willing to invest in my evil-super-conglomerate? I cannot accurately give a good IPO price as I am not sure of the return from such a venture.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby StClair » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:56 am UTC

JustMe wrote:As I googled something the other day, I realized my memory is in the cloud.
Which is great until my internet goes down.

You're thinking of a few strips back.

Does it strike anyone as ironic that this latest buzzword in computing is, basically, converting desktop machines back into (very fancy) dumb terminals for big iron that the actual programs run on?

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Smo » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:13 am UTC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDbyYGrswtg

Reminds me so much of this sketch. Enjoy!

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby neoliminal » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:16 am UTC

Mr. Burke wrote:
neoliminal wrote:
A_of_s_t wrote:Is no one else amazed that that little box holds thousands of petabytes of data?

Caching. Duh.
Caching, by its very nature, is a duplication of data. It still has to be in the “cloud.”


No no no... clouds ... they are infinite and thus replicate and replicate and replicate... by constantly cycling back and forth, data is uploaded to the client machine 2.5X the data they ask for, and when it bounces back it's like a savings of memory RAM.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Markavian » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:15 am UTC

Thoughts on the cloud:
I still woefully distrustful of the cloud. I've been a heavy internet user for over a decade, and yet as I find myself more mobile I find myself less connected to the internet - and so less reliant on information only accessible from the net.

Having a backup of something accessible from anywhere in the world is useful, but it is something I would prefer to host under my own terms and conditions, not through a major corporation.

Just sayin'.
There's a lot of caching involved.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby niky » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:35 am UTC

Somehow I always knew that that was what the "Cloud" looked like. All smoke and mirrors requiring users to cache gigabytes of data themselves.

Though I imagined it would look frumpier... with a flower vase on top of it.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Ronfar » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:46 am UTC

You're all wrong. This is the Cloud!
- Doug

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby soren121 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:53 am UTC

Black Hat Guy keeps the sysadmin in his basement. He regularly breaks out of his cell when the Roomba trips over the cable. And thus, the Internet is saved. Except for Sony's corner; that part stays dark.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby cream wobbly » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:41 pm UTC

VaebnKehn wrote:If the cloud stores information on people talking about and describing the cloud: does that make the cloud self-aware?

Don't be silly. That's like saying politicians who talk about politicians are self-aware.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby scarletmanuka » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:28 am UTC

Rereading the comic, I was reminded of this quote from Greg Egan's novel Permutation City:
"Do you know what it is that I'm offering my backers? The ones who've been funding your work?"
"A sanctuary. A privately owned computer somewhere."
"That's almost true. Depending on what you take those words to mean."
Maria laughed cynically. "Oh, yes? Which words do you have trouble with? 'Privately owned'?"
"No. 'Computer.' And, 'somewhere.'"

... It occurs to me that I need to read my Greg Egan collection again.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby Captain Chaos » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:58 pm UTC

A_of_s_t wrote:Is no one else amazed that that little box holds thousands of petabytes of data?

There's a lot of compression.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby SteevyT » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:50 am UTC

Captain Chaos wrote:
A_of_s_t wrote:Is no one else amazed that that little box holds thousands of petabytes of data?

There's a lot of compression.

Exactly what happens when you try to zip a .zip file? I'm scared to try.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby RebeccaRGB » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:21 am UTC

SteevyT wrote:Exactly what happens when you try to zip a .zip file? I'm scared to try.

It gets bigger.
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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby scarletmanuka » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:06 am UTC

RebeccaRGB wrote:
SteevyT wrote:Exactly what happens when you try to zip a .zip file? I'm scared to try.

It gets bigger.

Not always. I recall an example - I can't seem to find it now - of a layered .zip that someone had created which was a ridiculous size uncompressed (a dummy file, all 0s or something - and by "ridiculous size" I mean "You do not have enough room on your HD for this file", although this was several years ago). After it was zipped once it was still large but not insanely so, and another couple of zippings shrank it down nicely.

I had a copy at one point, and unzipped it to the penultimate level. I may still have a copy at home, but I think I deleted it.

But yes, for a normal .zip file, or other already compressed data, usually it will be stored as is, with a little bit of extra overhead for the containing .zip file, so it will grow slightly larger. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for instance if you have many compressed files that you want to package together.

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Re: 0908: "The Cloud"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:12 pm UTC

Great PSA about proper cable management. Smart cats have been known to double-dutch with dangling cables.


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