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Cloud computing continues to explode in popularity, as PC users enter the cloud

The popularity of moving information away from the data center and into the cloud is continuing to grow, and a wider variety of companies contributing to the movement is helping eliminate minor bumps in the road.

IBM has announced plans to invest at least $400 million into cloud computing centers in the United States and Japan over the next few years.  IBM plans to spend $360 million in funds to build a state-of-the-art cloud computing data center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  The facility in Japan will make it possible for large corporations and universities doing research to have around the clock access to cloud computing experts.

A report published in The Wall Street Journal indicates AT&T also will throw its hat into the cloud computing ring, in an attempt to compete with, Google and IBM.  AT&T's first big client is the U.S. Olympic Committee, which is responsible for operating the and similar web sites related to the Olympics.

During the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, cloud computing was a popular topic among companies and attendees.  GoGrid, who has a booth at LinuxWorld, is at the show to discuss its services and why users should select its services over Amazon and others.

GoGrid admits Amazon is its biggest competitor, but says the main difference is that it's the first one available that has a Web-based GUI and supports both Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Cloud computing, as it matures, offers both home users and corporations the ability to store data in the cloud while at the same time having multiple options when selecting a certain service to choose from.  The companies promoting cloud computing admit there are some minor problems facing the technology, but look forward to helping more people adopt the technology.

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Good but not for everything
By archcommus on 8/6/2008 9:09:49 AM , Rating: 2
For a home user, cloud computing is nice for off-site backup. Other than that, considering poor upload speeds in most of the country, I'm not sure how it would be better than hundreds of GBs of cheap local hard drive space. For corporations, it's possible it could be more cost effective than maintaining local servers.

RE: Good but not for everything
By retrospooty on 8/6/2008 9:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
Thats pretty much where it will be big - business users. I dont see it ever even being marketed to home users.

RE: Good but not for everything
By Alexstarfire on 8/6/2008 9:35:18 AM , Rating: 2
How much does it cost to run a data center? Because $400 millions sounds like a lot of money to put into cloud computing... considering it's supposed to be cheaper, right?

RE: Good but not for everything
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2008 9:50:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well power costs alone for a datacenter are in the millions of dollars.

By retrospooty on 8/6/2008 10:07:50 AM , Rating: 3
Its not going to be $400 million per company once it has become a standardized platform, by then it will be cheap. Alot cheaper than buying 10,000 users each a PC, then having to support their dumbasses on those PC's (support is the real high cost)

RE: Good but not for everything
By Spivonious on 8/6/2008 10:14:27 AM , Rating: 5
What company is going to trust their data in the cloud? The only thing the company might do is set up their own cloud server and have a bunch of dummy terminals for employees instead of full desktop machines.

I wouldn't put any money into Internet-based cloud computing.

RE: Good but not for everything
By HrilL on 8/6/2008 12:34:15 PM , Rating: 3
Yes the IT company I am working for is currently doing this. We did it for a 200 person non profit company. And are looking for others that want it too. The only real problem is latency over the internet. Our ISP has a MAN(metropolitan area network) so its not too bad only around ~20ms to anywhere in town. They are also the local Cable service company so it works out pretty well. For most users it is fine but we stripped out anything fun you can do on a computer so it really forces these people to work and not waste time. At least on the computer side. It is also a lot easier to manage 3 servers than it is to go out to remote locations and get on each persons desktop that is having a problem.

RE: Good but not for everything
By djc208 on 8/7/2008 9:14:35 AM , Rating: 3
I think home users are closer than any other group right now. Lots of people live mostly on-line. You may have certain data stored on you home PC but how much of it gets duplicated somewhere else?

People don't have GB of e-mail space because they keep everything on their home PC.
All the photo, file, and video sharing sites people keep stuff on.
All the Google and soon MS web apps like Word and Excel with attached storage.

I think people will readily sign up for services like this. Sure their main data store will be at home on some 1TB HDD, but I can easily see all the files you want access to at any location being stored on some sort of "cloud".

Eventually I see some company offering a "service pack" with e-mail, online storage, web hosting, online applications (word processor, spreadsheet, calender, etc) along with "subscription access" to a music/video library for one monthly fee. So you don't need GBs of copied or stolen music and movies on your home PC since it's available through any internet connection with your log-in. And all your personal pictures and such are stored in some server farm with much higher security and redundancy than the average user would ever impliment at home.

The other advantage is that dumb terminals and internet tablets and smartphones now become that much more capable since your iPhone doesn't need to run Powerpoint if the web service does it for you.

RE: Good but not for everything
By ajfink on 8/6/2008 11:16:09 AM , Rating: 2
As essentially a home user, I'm really not interested in relying solely on "the cloud" for my backup needs. Microsoft's intent to make future operating systems cloud-based brings a sinking feeling to my stomach for some reason.

I'd rather just build a home server.

RE: Good but not for everything
By blaster5k on 8/6/2008 11:43:06 AM , Rating: 2
I'm with you there. I think the "cloud" belongs on a home server, and even for back ups, I'd rather ship off to a server at a family member's house (disaster-proof enough for most people). That model is a bit frowned upon by internet providers' "no server" policy, but it makes more sense to me.

Using an off-site server may be easier for a lot of people, but as home server software/hardware improves, I see that being less of an issue -- and privacy concerns are basically eliminated.

RE: Good but not for everything
By Ammohunt on 8/6/2008 2:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
I thin kwhere this will work best is in a kiosk type of situation. Login to a terminal anywhere in the world and get your desktop or whatever liek you see is alot of sci-fi movies.

RE: Good but not for everything
By Nyu on 8/6/2008 3:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
That's true for the US, but in Japan you get 100/100 mbit for barely $40-50/m, with availability in 85% of the land.

By fibreoptik on 8/7/2008 7:32:16 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree.

It's great for plenty of things, such as learning more about nasty diseases that we would like to cure eventually, predicting weather accurately and finding life elsewhere in the universe.

Folding@home is the biggest, and most successful (in terms of speed anyway) grid/cloud/distributed computing project so far.

What's the big deal?
By leidegre on 8/6/2008 11:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
Can you tell me what could computing is all about in 1 sentence, because if not, how could you sell it?

Could computing to me is a trend we see among businesses in the way things seem to evolve. But is this something more than a big hype? I don't think so, I fail to see the strong selling point of cloud computing.

Will be people even talk about it in 5 years?

RE: What's the big deal?
By llamas on 8/6/2008 12:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong (like I have to ask...), but cloud computing is about more than just data storage, which is what alot of the previous comments seem to focus on. It's also about running processes on computers in the cloud. This particular element may not be of as much interest to home users, either, at least in the context of using their home PC, but it has great potential for mobile computing devices. For example, you could run the same processing power intensive app (accessing the same data) on your desktop, laptop, cell phone, or public terminal, and while the interface may change (for your cell phone), since the processing is done on the back end, the speed, or lack of speed, of the local device is not a limiting factor.

Sounds a lot like the old server-client model, but with a move to the internet so that access is possible from anywhere you have connectivity.

Ah, and I believe the concept also modifies the server-client model somewhat by allowing processes to be executed locally or remotely, depending on connectivity and the capabilities of the local device.

Crap, that was more than one sentence, and didn't cover the enterprise use side of things.

RE: What's the big deal?
By TimberJon on 8/6/2008 12:08:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yes because someone probably asked that about Virtualization. And it has always been around but never really gathered interest until recently. Now it is a big market, with high demand, and tons of applications. Many SMB's use it to simplify their network infrastructure, reduce hardware costs and double as part of a disaster recovery plan.

Cloud Computing isn't exactly a new concept either, and since it's hype, not it's inception, is very recent it will get alot of attention. Even if something catastrophic happens to the idea and/or it's implementation within the industry, people will still be talking and writing articles about it for years. (San *cough* Fran..)

RE: What's the big deal?
By fibreoptik on 8/7/2008 7:40:44 AM , Rating: 2
It's a method of tackling computing problems with the use of many disparate computing systems acting as one. The "big deal" is that unprecedented computing power has been achieved in this way with very little investment (of money anyway) required by the creators of the various grid/cloud projects.
Cloud computing is really the delivery mechanism for "grid" or "distributed" computing projects. The applications are pretty much limitless...

Read the wiki article on it for a detailed explanation.

Oh, right. I forgot about the part where you said you didn't like reading. oops.

RE: What's the big deal?
By leidegre on 8/8/2008 3:01:15 AM , Rating: 2
It's not that I don't like to read. I'm not an excessive reader but, presenting an idea can be quite challenging.
I think you did well with about a paragraph. However, I see all to often especially on the internet and with blogs that, when no one is editing, people just ramble on.

Most of the time, you can get through with very few words. And I think being able to express oneself with few words is a powerful skill. Not necessarily a silver bullet, but it's certainly an effective way to get people behind you.

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