Question about the "Cloud"

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Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:14 pm

No particular reason for my question. Just need my curiosity satisfied. At what point does a network become a "Cloud"? How big does the network need to be? I don't hear the term "World Wide Web" anymore. Did they rename it to "The cloud"?. Sorry, I'm in one of those chill moods after a pizza and mountain dew. Much ado about nothing. I went to 1 year of the Cisco networking academy, and the cloud wasn't a term at that time.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:17 pm

"Cloud" means your data storage is no longer on a server in a physical site you own/control/monitor/secure, but is on some server of which you have no clue as to its physical location. Drives us financial regulators batty.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:20 pm

As Capn' Ned said: Cloud is a fancy marketing euphamism meaning that somebody else is storing your data... for better or for worse.

You want a simple example of a "cloud"? If you have a gmail account, then Google is your "cloud" provider for email and they can do what they want with the emails that are stored on their servers.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:43 pm

I guess that makes sense. Instead of, "We will store your important files for you", it's "Keep you data safe in the cloud". Then cloud computing must be a friendly term for what used to be known as "mainframe and dumb terminal", i.e. chromebooks being a well-known remanifestation of dumb terminals.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:44 pm

There's no hard and fast rule. A network becomes a "cloud" when the marketing department says it is a cloud.

Edit:
confusedpenguin wrote:I guess that makes sense. Instead of, "We will store your important files for you", it's "Keep you data safe in the cloud". Then cloud computing must be a friendly term for what used to be known as "mainframe and dumb terminal", i.e. chromebooks being a well-known remanifestation of dumb terminals.

Bingo! The "dumb" terminals are just a lot smarter than they were back then!
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:01 pm

Your server farm becomes a cloud when it's highly redundant and the only way to get rid of it is to wipe out a datacenter or two.

There are multiple layers to owning a cloud infrastructure, and you can build your own. It's just like how a car is more then just than engine or a bucket full of gasoline and a chair.

    1: Abstracted hardware. The guest shouldn't care about what hardware it's running on, and this is accomplished with some sort of hypervisor.
    2: OS mobility. The hypervisor should have some way to move VMs between hosts with a minimal loss of service. vSphere has vMotion, Xen has a live migration feature, and others the feature as well.
    3: High availability. This means the service will not experience an outage when a couple of servers go down, and users shouldn't realize a server has gone down.
    4: Automation. Minimal human intervention should be required once everything is running. Configuration, management, and setup should all be push button affairs.
    5: Expandability. The service needs to be able to expand and contract based on need. If there are a lot of traffic it needs to add servers, and if there isn't a lot of traffic it should contract.

Some hosting providers have abstracted this to just applications rather then whole servers. Juju, OpenShift, and Heroku are three examples I can think of. It's very similar to the list above, except 1: is OS abstraction and 2: is application mobility.

As an aside, the term The Cloud comes from diagrams. I'm most familiar with it from networking diagrams. When diagramming stuff, there come a point when whatever else is out there is beyond the scope of the document, so people would put in a cloud in to signify stuff that doesn't really matter, they have no control over, and/or they don't have a clue about what's out there. It's equivalent to the ???? in "collect underpants --> ???? --> profit!"
Last edited by Flatland_Spider on Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:04 pm

In the Telco realm I work in, once you hit your WAN link, you are now in our "cloud", because there are a multitude of devices and networks you're traversing (invisible to you) so your packets can reach their destination.

A major setup at a collocation facility can also be considered a "cloud" because you don't know which of the potentially hundreds of servers/nodes your packet is being processed by.

The Cloud is just a way of simplifying what happens between you and your destination, without having to draw a diagram with tens of thousands of connections and devices.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:41 pm

just brew it! wrote:There's no hard and fast rule. A network becomes a "cloud" when the marketing department says it is a cloud.


This. I used to be a Silverlight developer, and our web application was sometimes billed as a cloud app. The server was a VM that lived in New Jersey.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:11 pm

Captain Ned wrote:"Cloud" means your data storage is no longer on a server in a physical site you own/control/monitor/secure, but is on some server of which you have no clue as to its physical location. Drives us financial regulators batty.


Pretty much this.
"Cloud" is when you don't know where your data is. :lol:
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:44 pm

Except when you are running a "private cloud", meaning your own data centre holds the data. That is why the term is whatever you label it as.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:54 pm

My computer's hard drive is a cloud, because that's where my data is. It is networked into the rest of the computer via a SATA cable. It's a cloud because I say it is. :)
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:19 am

Flying Fox wrote:Except when you are running a "private cloud", meaning your own data centre holds the data. That is why the term is whatever you label it as.

Yes, I would say that the birth of the phrase "private cloud" was the point at which "cloud" as a technical term ceased to have any real meaning. Not that it was particularly well-defined even before that; it's always been somewhat nebulous... like a cloud! :wink:
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:04 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:Except when you are running a "private cloud", meaning your own data centre holds the data. That is why the term is whatever you label it as.

Yes, I would say that the birth of the phrase "private cloud" was the point at which "cloud" as a technical term ceased to have any real meaning. Not that it was particularly well-defined even before that; it's always been somewhat nebulous... like a cloud! :wink:

A lot of TR gerbils already hopped on the bandwagon of networked/shared storage at their homes to serve multiple computers. Some even expose them through the internet (FTP, SMB, streaming, RDP, or whatever other protocols). In that sense, they all have their own little private clouds already, before the term was overloaded by "industry pundits".
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:21 pm

Flying Fox wrote:A lot of TR gerbils already hopped on the bandwagon of networked/shared storage at their homes to serve multiple computers. Some even expose them through the internet (FTP, SMB, streaming, RDP, or whatever other protocols). In that sense, they all have their own little private clouds already, before the term was overloaded by "industry pundits".

Whereas I draw two distinct levels of cloud. You may own a "cloud" that your clusers think of as a cloud, but the data farm is still completely within your control. Then there's the big "cloud", where your data goes to points unknown and unverifiable. It's the latter that drives this financial regulator nuts as it flies in the face of existing information security regs (c.f. GLBA) that require strict security controls and auditing on all data storage. How can one audit one's information security if you don't know where to find it in meatspace?
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:41 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:A lot of TR gerbils already hopped on the bandwagon of networked/shared storage at their homes to serve multiple computers. Some even expose them through the internet (FTP, SMB, streaming, RDP, or whatever other protocols). In that sense, they all have their own little private clouds already, before the term was overloaded by "industry pundits".

Whereas I draw two distinct levels of cloud. You may own a "cloud" that your clusers think of as a cloud, but the data farm is still completely within your control. Then there's the big "cloud", where your data goes to points unknown and unverifiable. It's the latter that drives this financial regulator nuts as it flies in the face of existing information security regs (c.f. GLBA) that require strict security controls and auditing on all data storage. How can one audit one's information security if you don't know where to find it in meatspace?
They call that the "public" cloud. And then there is the hybrid cloud, where your computing infrastructure and data may live in both. It is very cloudy. :P
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:57 pm

Flying Fox wrote:They call that the "public" cloud. And then there is the hybrid cloud, where your computing infrastructure and data may live in both. It is very cloudy. :P

All I know is that in the day job, I really want regulated institutions to show me the mainframe CPU, the server farm, and the storage farm, hopefully all within the same secure access-controlled facility. I also want them to block user 'Net access to each and every mass-market cloud storage place (Dropbox, Google Docs, etc) as their contracted intelligence/network monitoring service becomes aware of it. If I get really paranoid I'll grab their network diagram and verify the external connections along with their firewall rules that prevent outbound data. To really make my day, be running a middleware app that scans all outbound traffic for potential data breaches and blocks anything questionable.

Truth be told, I'd be happier if they did the 3-letter Agency thing and ran dual pipes (1 secure, 1 unsecure) to every desk with external access. I've got one institution that won't even trust KVMs and has two complete boxen on the desk for the few allowed direct external access.

OK, I'm breathing into my paper bag now. I'll stop. I hate cloud storage. It needlessly complicates my job but for the traditional penny-pinching on IT.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:51 am

Captain Ned wrote:Truth be told, I'd be happier if they did the 3-letter Agency thing and ran dual pipes (1 secure, 1 unsecure) to every desk with external access. I've got one institution that won't even trust KVMs and has two complete boxen on the desk for the few allowed direct external access.

Yeah, we've moved to that model where I work. At least they haven't outlawed KVMs (yet).
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:48 am

Cloud computing = terminal computing with a new "brand" name.

Cloud aspect comes from internet being depicted as a "cloud" on network topology/flowcharts.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:03 am

Krogoth wrote:Cloud computing = terminal computing with a new "brand" name.

Cloud aspect comes from internet being depicted as a "cloud" on network topology/flowcharts.

Captain Ned is not impressed. Already discussed many posts above.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:17 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Krogoth wrote:Cloud computing = terminal computing with a new "brand" name.

Cloud aspect comes from internet being depicted as a "cloud" on network topology/flowcharts.

Captain Ned is not impressed. Already discussed many posts above.

...and I'm sure Krogoth is not impressed with the fact that you're not impressed!
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:08 pm

Captain Ned wrote:It's the latter that drives this financial regulator nuts as it flies in the face of existing information security regs (c.f. GLBA) that require strict security controls and auditing on all data storage. How can one audit one's information security if you don't know where to find it in meatspace?


Normally we give y'all the executive summary of that company's SSAE 16 and you check off a box on your sheet and move on to the next thing. ;D
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:09 pm

Scrotos wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:It's the latter that drives this financial regulator nuts as it flies in the face of existing information security regs (c.f. GLBA) that require strict security controls and auditing on all data storage. How can one audit one's information security if you don't know where to find it in meatspace?
Normally we give y'all the executive summary of that company's SSAE 16 and you check off a box on your sheet and move on to the next thing. ;D

That may be the book answer, but it's not the right answer to me; I'm not a box-checker. Then again, I've worked in 60's-era mainframe rooms with the raised floors and the banks of tape drives.
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Re: Question about the "Cloud"

Postposted on Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:32 pm

It's just servers on the internet. If there is load, and perhaps other, balancing software facing the internet then what's behind can be called a cloud.

Mmmm it should pop in IR. ;)
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