In IT, When Something is Going to Fail Spectacularly, We Call it a Cloud

Not all that long ago I put out ISBN-13 978-0-9770866-6-5 “The Minimum You Need to Know About Service Oriented Architecture”. Some of you may remember that it won a 2008 Best Book Award from USA Book News. Apparently, not enough of you have read it because we are still seeing the standard criminal enterprises pushing “Cloud Computing” and now they are even trying to push it to “the masses” since they want the government to splurge trillions of your tax dollars on something that will not only contribute massively to identity theft, but bring George Orwell’s “1984” to fruition.

Back in the SOA book we had sections 1.1 “SOA – Where We Came From” and 1.2 “The Disaster We Are Headed Toward”. In truth, it is probably these two sections which got the book its award. It is here that I told you the tale most of IT seems to have forgotten. Computers used to be massively expensive. Companies bought terminals with modems and leased time on bigger companies’ computers. It was not unusual to have them lease accounting services on one computer system and order fulfillment on another system. CPU time was charged by the microsecond and storage space by the type and block. (Tape storage cheaper than removable platter which was cheaper than true DASD that was on-line all of the time.)

During the 70s and inter the early 80s, leased time and proprietary packages ruled the land. It was not until basic mid-range computers got down to under $100,000 where you started to see a boom in the VAR (Value Added Reseller) market along with custom ERP and CRM applications. The time-share and leased application markets died before 1990. There were lots of big vendors trying to sell mega packages to the Fortune 500 with price tags only the Fortune 100 could afford.

Then a horrible thing happened. They realized there were only 500 customers in the Fortune 500. Some package vendors caught onto this before others did. SAP put up their own Web site where small businesses could pay for accounts that would give them limited use of most/all SAP products. The catch was that all of their data had to remain on SAP servers. Some small to mid-sized companies jumped at deals of $99/month for full access, including payroll. Other vendors launched subscription sites for each module, Payroll was one of them early successes since many companies were already in the habit of subbing that out to companies like ADP.

Of course, once we started taxing the network, companies found out they didn’t have enough bandwidth. Buying all of the bandwidth one needed at peak meant paying for it when one didn’t need it. Companies went from leasing T1 to a frame relay cloud system. In theory, you only paid for this small connection pipe, then “the cloud” would allow you to use as much as you needed when you needed it and only charge you for what you used.

Sound familiar???

Yes, just like the hapless cloud being shoved down business and consumer throats today, everything would dynamically adjust. You would only have to pay for what you used. In case you aren’t old enough to remember those days, let me tell you, this “cloud” was about as successful as mud flavored gum. It was a complete frackin’ joke. Nobody ever got the bandwidth they needed. In fact, I never found a client that got more than the minimum bandwidth they paid for to connect to the cloud. If the entire thing wasn’t criminal fraud, it was less than a nanometer away from it.

Today we have a new cloud. Once again, if it isn’t outright criminal fraud, it isn’t far from it. This has got to be a con which dwarfs the Bernie Madoff scam. You no longer have to include IT in your BRP (Business Recovery Plan) because all IT functions and support are going to be provided by this “new cloud” built on the success (cough cough hack hack) of the previous cloud. Yes, the same scam vendors are dusting this baby off and like a good little Judas goat, leading the sheep to slaughter.

I covered this in detail, long before this new terminology hit the market in my SOA book. I won’t outline all of the major disasters for you, even though, this scam could very well end civilization as we know it, but I will point out some issues for the casual user.

Myth 1: Collaboration. If you watch the commercials you are lead to believe that only with a cloud can multiple users edit the same document. This is pure ka-ka. Back in the days of the PDP and later the VAX, we had word processing packages like WPS and Mass-11. Multiple users could edit the a document at the same time. Those users didn’t even have to be in the same country, just logged into the system (server) that was currently hosting the word processing software.

Myth 2: Storing your personal data on a cloud is a good thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. You wouldn’t hand your birth certificate and wallet to a gang banger at the Mexican border and tell them “hang onto this until I need it again,” so why oh why would you consider storing that same information on a system you don’t own that has nothing more than Microsoft security? You know, the same security we are constantly reading about in the news due to identity theft breaches by Russian and Chinese organized crime. Just how liable are they if their “backup” plan allows your data to be lost forever?

Myth 3: Storing all of your business data on systems that exist in unknown locations operated by corporations using the lowest cost labor they can find is a good idea. Yeah right. This is a financial fracking in the making that every share holder should be allowed to execute on the spot any CIO, CFO, or CEO who utters anything that even sounds like they “might” be thinking about it. If they actually go so far as to write it down, you should be able to execute their entire family because those genes need to be purged from the gene pool.

MBAs and accountants are, quite honestly, the stupidest people to ever tie a pair of shoes. There is no polite way of putting it. These people routinely make decisions which kill innocent workers and throw national security to the wind. Each and every one of these buffoons falls victim to “crack dealing 101 – first hit is free.” I’ve been in IT over 20 years and let me tell you there are no exceptions to this statement, none what-so-ever.

How does it work? Quite simply, the Big 4 organized crime families of IT pitch Utopia to upper management. They tell them that if you use “the cloud” from Vendor A, for $99/month you will get all of the computing resources you need and they will convert all of your existing application data into their applications and they will train your business users. To top it off, once everything is converted, you can fire all of your IT workers and sell all of your IT equipment, not to mention those expensive UPS and backup generation systems. At current used market prices, that sale alone will pay for five years of the contract.

Ah……management salivates….”the cloud” is good. “The cloud” is going to get them bigger bonus checks and larger stock options.

Of course, once all of the data is converted, and the IT equipment liquidated the “low introductory rate” will go away and the real monthly contract price will kick in. When the company negotiates the price down, they will get less and less service along with less allowed storage and fewer CPU minutes. When they want off “the cloud” to either user another vendor’s cloud, or bring things back in-house, they will find the outbound conversion work costs $800/hr and takes however many hours they say.

In the mean time, all of your private accounting and customer data has been stolen from “the cloud” by Russian and Chinese organized crime units and your cloud vendor won’t bother to tell you. Don’t be surprised if you only learn of it when you read an article about it being for sale.

Ah yes….”the cloud.”

The second major push will be to have all of your smart phones, net-books, and new “cloud appliances” use only “the cloud” for storage. Physical storage on each of these devices will continue to shrink until there is only enough room for the bootable operating system and cloud access driver. Most consumers will only notice that things are getting cheaper, not the reason why. Years will go by before we find out Congress and government officials had for lack of better terms Grep and Spyder tools along with complete access to all of the content on “the cloud.” They would use these tools to track anyone who was initially considered a threat to the government (be that government the U.S.A. or Moammar Gadhafi’s brutal dictatorship. Eventually these tools will be used to identify all thought criminals who are not part of the party elite.


By seasoned_geek

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the "Zinc It!" book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc. A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome "The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer" which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series was born. Three years later he wrote his first novel "Infinite Exposure" which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of "The Earth That Was" trilogy: Infinite Exposure Lesedi - The Greatest Lie Ever Told John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.