ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Oh Boy, The Cloud —

I got a mail today, and I figured I’d answer it here. The letter’s stripped down to protect the not-asking-to-be-punched-in-the-face.

I stumbled across your name via the “F*** the Cloud” article.  Then I read your bio / story.  As busy as I am today I had a hard time stopping.  Compelling work, sir.

As for me, yes I was “there” in the eighties.  So not surprisingly we share some experiences and philosophies.  That stated, and believe it or not, I’ve recently become turned-around regarding The Cloud.

BOTTOM LINE:  What would the technological and social futures need to look like to get you to change your mind about The Cloud?

Oh, that cloud article, another one along the lines of “why did I ever decide to step in that”, which this weblog has multiple examples of. But here I am, cloud critic and cloud naysayer, and so I might as well do a quick version of what I think my take is.

Simply put, I think the term “the cloud” is completely goddamn meaningless. It is used by all manner of people to sell all sorts of products and ideas. Some of these products and ideas are good. Many are rotten. And all of it gets thrown into this idea.

This manner of salesmanship drives me batshit, because it’s kind of like a smiling guy going “remember good aspects of something? That’s what I’m selling! Oh, you remember bad stuff. That’s not me!” A chugging party boat down the canal of internet sales dreams, with hucksters and waylaid engineers desperately clinging to its side hoping they might hang on long enough to make a piece of this rapidly diversified pie. That’s the cloud to me.

The ability to store your crap in multiple locations? Awesome.

The ability to restore your crap to your crap device so you never lose your crap? Perfect.

Someone with a half-opened server in North Fuckitville with a fan blowing on it to make sure it doesn’t overheat AGAIN, serving to you some sort of blowjob rounded-corner dream of cloud computing that just needs a few of your bucks a month and you don’t have to think about maintenance? Not so hot on that.

People telling me that adhering to proven engineering models is to be decried and mistrusted in favor of the awesome tale spun by the owner of the server in North Fuckitville? Oh, well, now we got problems.

Look, I use dreamhost for a lot of my websites. It’s cheap, it’s pretty dependable (mostly) and I can use a nice control panel to keep track of my data, my usage, and what the performance of the machines are. Also, cheap.

Meanwhile, I also host’s main sites, stuff I really care about. For more expense, with a guy I know and trust, and who has helped me innumerable times in ensuring maximum uptime. He costs more than dreamhost.

I have a couple servers that live with me. I pay very little to host them. They push things up to the other servers. Nothing on the external servers isn’t mirrored on the internal/local servers.

This is my solution, for me, how I do stuff. Some aspects of it would be called “using the cloud” by people. Some wouldn’t My point is, the term is now way too variant to have any consistency of what is The Cloud and what isn’t The Cloud.

The Cloud has lost term as a meaning. It is used by gullibles and people trying to screw other people.

Ergo, I don’t like the Cloud. I like the idea of the Cloud. But I don’t like the Cloud.

How’s that.

Categorised as: jason his own self

Comments are disabled on this post


  1. DosFreak says:

    I’ve always said if you want me to trust digital distribution or other “Cloud” activities then they need to be:

    1. Stable – As present and stable as air/water/electricity. Obviously those arent perfect either but that’s where the “Cloud” needs to be.

    2. Secure – I need to know that the data I want secure on the Cloud is secure. Right now on my home server connected to the net I can be reasonably sure that my files are secure due to the precautions I’ve taken. The “Cloud”? Not so much.

    3. Data loss – This shouldn’t be an issue but it is. Companies move around, servers die. Incompetent IT is the rule, not the exception.

    Until all three (and others) are solved the “Cloud” will always be just another copy of the data I dare copy to it, never the primary.

  2. JEddiah says:

    I’m all for the cloud.. Why waste time exploiting a single box when you can exploit the cloud and own them all?

  3. Kevin H says:

    I think you are correct that there are many companies operating in the cloud with absolutely no accountability for the level of service they provide. However, to discount cloud computing entirely due to these bad actors is akin to saying “Fuck Renting!” due to the bad landlords (or bad car rental agencies) which exist.

    An intelligent person can enter into a rental contract that protects both the renter and the landlord, and provides clear roles and responsibilities for each. Likewise, a person or business can enter into a contract with a cloud computing vendor with a strong SLA which provides clear roles and responsibilities for the vendor and the customer. For a great example of the sort of SLA terms I have in mind, see:

  4. fuzz says:

    “a half-opened server … with a fan blowing on it to make sure it doesn’t overheat”
    You say that like it’s a bad thing 😉
    (we’ve all done it from time to time right?)