Talk:Cloud computing

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 Definition Use of computer networks, especially the Internet, to access computer resources, operated by a third party; access is on-demand and dynamically assigned — cloud computing differs from managed hosting with resources dedicated to users [d] [e]
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 Workgroup category Computers [Please add or review categories]
 Subgroup category:  Distributed computing
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Concerned about scope and precision

To me, cloud computing is a form of distributed processing that emphasizes the computing resources, not the applications, beyond the technologies (e.g., intelligent DNS redirectors) that send transactions/sessions to resources. There is absolutely no non-buzzword reason to link SaaS, for example, with clouds. Clouds, grids, and other distributed infrastructures that are ad hoc or demand-driven are radically different than SaaS built for high availability. So far, when I've done SaaS architectures with any concept of a service level agreement, as in healthcare, the computing infrastruture is far more specific than a cloud, with extensive load distribution, fault tolerance, and capacity planning.

I'd hate to see us drifting into one of the "Web 2.0" styles that makes everything so general that it provides no engineering guidance. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:11, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Everyone has a different idea of what cloud computing is - the article developed at Wikipedia is somewhat a consensus that covers/satisfies most views. Your "evolved grid" view of cloud is quite limited compared to others and the average reader has been conditioned to think Google Apps and Salesforce when they hear the term. How technical is our audience really? Sam Johnston 19:38, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Speaking as a Computers Workgroup Editor, CZ articles will be technically correct. We are expert consensus based, not general consensus based. That isn't to say that things cannot be written to be understandable by people with limited detail knowledge: our general target reader is a college undergraduate. One of our goals is "deconditioning" marketingspeak into accurate content. Our definitions are written (or approved) by subject matter experts, not "average readers".
Last year, we went through some of this with an Eduzendium (educator-guided student writing assignments), and there was a fair bit of insistence on rigor when dealing even with evolving technologies such as mashup, Ajax, etc.
Twitter and blogs are not preferred sources, and, when dealing with the industry press, it has to follow CZ: Neutrality Policy.
To convert this from WP to CZ style, the first steps are to give even conflicting definitions, and then compare and contrast. Real-world issues like availability/service level agreement must be covered.
Salesforce is SaaS, but with some fairly critical service delivery requirements. First, explain how clouds work without going off into the application level. Yes, failover and load distribution are things to be addressed early in the article, not SaaS that could be delivered with a distributed computing system totally under the control of a single vendor.
Let's start with Infrastructure as a Service and move from there. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:15, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Ok I've got a train to catch in <24 hours so don't really have time for this right now. I was planning to iteratively improve the Wikipedia content without Wikipedia interference over time (was there really a twitter ref in there?) Sam Johnston 20:44, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm new to the group and have some experience with working with the original "cloud computing" time sharing systems through the present. Historically, over the past 30+ years, there has been "centralized --> distributed --> centralized --> (loop)" effect as control, access speed & quality, and difficulty in maintaining balances shift. SaaS is the same thing -- especially if you consider the use of mainframe virtualization in timesharing systems. Good points about being concerned about being caught in the current "buzzwords." By the way, is SaaS "Software as a Service" or "Storage as a Service"? Depends on which part of the industry you are in. Karl D. Schubert 14:55, 19 September 2009 (UTC)


I've moved "Cloud computing aims to apply the power of supercomputers—measured in the tens of trillions of computations per second—to problems like analyzing risk in financial portfolios, delivering personalized medical information, even powering immersive computer games, in a way that users can tap through the Web."

out of the article. Transaction processing appears to be one of the more common services; examples given such as SalesForce and Google Apps hardly need supercomputer computational power, but highly parallel client/server processing. Some cloud applications may be computationally intensive, especially using grids, but the reality is that not that many applications exist to make use of the traditional computationally oriented definition of vector processors or massively parallel processing of specific applications. Having high volumes of individually compute-moderate transactions, however, is very reasonable.

Storage distribution needs to be discussed in more context, including the federated versus distributed model, replication and reliability, and synchronization.

I've also put references into CZ standard form. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:52, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Product examples

We'd usually like to have the significance of commercial products explained, perhaps with reference to neutral sources, to avoid the appearance of advertising. I removed the text below; it certainly can go back with more context.

"In some services, such as Nirvanix, the system may span multiple data centers or even continents.


  • IBM’s Blue cloud
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
  • Microsoft Live Mesh
  • Apple Mobile Me

Howard C. Berkowitz 21:05, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

All of this content predates me - we can work through it later or discard it and start from scratch. Sam Johnston 21:11, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

My underpants are in the cloud

Everything is a cloud. Nothing is a cloud. We've got private clouds - that is, an outsourced application hosting system... in your own datacenter. D'oh. Amazon EC2 is a cloud. Christ on a wheel, Twitter and Facebook are clouds if you ask the right idiot at a technology conference. I bet you there's some goofball out there who probably thinks WP and CZ are clouds. Utterly horrible buzzword that needs to go to the linguistic equivalent of Dante's Inferno - along with bromance! I hope nobody objects to my addition of a criticism section! Heheh. –Tom Morris 20:06, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, if one waves one's hand and doesn't get specific, everything and nothing is in a cloud. This article, however, does provide some taxonomy for categorizing, as well as real-world horror stories and the early successes.
It's one thing for Ellison to talk about a cloud. It's another thing to describe PayPal as "hybrid SaaS" or EC2 as "public IaaS". Howard C. Berkowitz 21:46, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Suppose we had a high-tech Scottish company involved? Would it then be known as a MacLeod of MacLeod? Hayford Peirce 22:57, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
And if it were accessed on a Macintosh? Howard C. Berkowitz 16:48, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

(undent) Seriously, Tom, Ellison is waving his hands about loosely defined clouds. I do want to make the point that cloud ideas, without precision, are garbage. Is the rest of the article, which introduces a taxonomy, reviews some failures and will review more, and suggests appropriate methods, useful? Unquestionably, it's still evolving.

Ellison is known for dramatics and isn't necessarily the most considered analyst in the world. I've trimmed out some of the inside comments such as the location of venture capitalist offices, but I'd like to make the statement more precise -- and even include some more sober criticisms. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:48, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

what does *this* mean? lede sentence

in on, or usually more, data center locations.

doesn't sound like English to me.... Hayford Peirce 04:39, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Generally I agree with Hayford's comment. I think the information in this article is excellent, but the writing style can be improved to make it simpler, clearer, less tech-y. But this requires work and patience on my part, and I'm offering to rework it, but only on condition that my changes don't get undone, overwritten, or mashed about. I'm a competent but simple writer; but writing simply, clearly takes time and I don't want to see my contributions undone.--Thomas Wright Sulcer 15:43, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Again, Tom, what might be more keeping with the CZ way is for you to mention, on the talk page, sections that you find to be a problem, and give me the first shot at rewriting. There are parts that indeed should be understandable to anyone, where other are nuanced, and, I believe, need to be technical as long as they are appropriately introduced.
It's a basic rule of collaborative writing here that absolutely no one gets a guarantee that their contributions may not be changed. We have found, however, that process is much less stressful when the discussion is principally on the talk page and a consensus develops about the needed rewrite. Otherwise, we risk getting into the WP bold-edit-revert model. While other Computers Editors certainly could overrule me, the final rewrite is going to have to be approved by either three Editors, or one other than myself (i.e., that had no direct involvement in the writing.).
It would take too long to point to individual sentences or paragraphs, list them on the talk page, and then dicker over particular wordings. But how about we leave it at this: if ever and when you get to some point where you feel it can't be improved any more, or you feel "done" with it, and want my copy-editing help, ask. But to get to that point, you'll have to come to some sense that you can trust me to make good revisions. If that happens let me know, otherwise there's lots more for me to do.--Thomas Wright Sulcer 17:46, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Now, Hayford, the words you are questioning refer to the fact that the computers in the cloud may (undesirable) be in a single physical data center building, or (preferably) geographically distributed, network-linked multiple buildings. Are those words better?
Tom, and whoever it is who made some comments without signing, there seems to be a misunderstanding about the CZ process. Tom -- OF COURSE YOU CAN MAKE EDITS WITHOUT APPROVAL. As long as they're reasonable stuff, just go ahead and do it, for Pete's sake. If you want to change something BASIC, however, you should bring it up on the Talk page. For instance, if there's an article about George Washington, you add some more info about his birth, his family, and his education. And about his wartime leadership. And you correct a couple of dates that were wrong, as well as misspellings of names. BUT, you don't say that he was fighting the French, not the English, because you read that in some online Blog. You bring that point up on the Talk page. BUT, once you have made your additions and your changes, there is no guarantee that they in turn won't be edited. If someone wants to remove them because they're inappropriate, that person should bring it up FIRST on the talk page. But if someone like me copyedits your new stuff because the grammar is wrong and some sentences aren't clear, those changes are going to stand -- unless they in turn are proven to be wrong. It really seems as if you don't understand the process here and I can't see why. It seems pretty simple to me. In a sense it's just like WP -- except we don't yell at each other and we don't have revert wars. But neither is any of our prose set in stone -- EXCEPT when it is an Approved article, which is entirely different from what you are talking about here. Hayford Peirce 18:59, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Lede sentence now makes sense -- one little letter does the trick!

I see that Howard made a very *simple* change, turning on into one. Once that change has been made, the sentence now makes sense. Before, it didn't. What a difference one letter makes! Sorry, I could have made that change myself, but it frankly never occurred to me -- I simply didn't understand what the sentence was trying to say.

As for all the other discussion in the section above, I haven't even looked at the rest of the article, so I won't comment beyond saying that this, like all other CZ articles, should be worked on by everyone concerned in the normal collaborative CZ fashion.... Hayford Peirce 19:05, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Split. It. Up

I took a closer look at this one tonight and found it well-written and informative. However, I strongly suggest to break it up into a set of interlinked pieces dedicated to specific subtopics — this one is simply too long to be digestible in encyclopedia mode. --Daniel Mietchen 00:15, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. You'll start seeing things moving. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:31, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Suggestion: MacLeod for one article; of MacLeod for the second. That's all right, you don't have to thank me! Hayford Peirce 01:38, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Getting much better

Howard when you work on things they get much, much better. Excellent work!--Thomas Wright Sulcer 02:26, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Cool diagram about the Cloud Computing with the colors. Great job!!!--Thomas Wright Sulcer 16:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Relationship to content delivery and P2P

I can't decide -- are content delivery and distributed file sharing networks clouds, perhaps PaaS or DaaS, or just related topics? The cloud literature generally doesn't include them, but I'm not sure why not.

Some of the CDS vendors confuse it further -- Akamai, for example, has a Java PaaS offering. --Howard C. Berkowitz 15:48, 17 April 2010 (UTC)