You know we’ve had Cloud Computing before right?

I really don’t understand why there is all this talk and excitement about cloud computing. If my memory serves me, we’ve had cloud computing for the past couple of decades. For those who recall, there was this thing called a mainframe and you used a dumb terminal to connect to it. None of the processing was done locally, it was all done "behind the scenes".

Then, we got all fancy fancy and in the last decade we were using Terminal Server, Citrix and VNC. That works in a few scenarios for a few companies, but on the whole it’s presence isn’t overwhelming.

What happened to all those "thin clients"? Where did all that hardware end up?

But now, it’s all the rage to give it a new name and do the same thing over again? With machines being more powerful and cheaper than ever before I have to ask, what’s the point? What does it accomplish? And do you really think hardware vendors are going to let this grab hold? Instead of buying new machines every year or two with 6 soon to be 8, soon to be 12 "cores", people would need to buy one machine, that’s dirt cheap and has a minimum of parts, and never upgrade it again. Yeah, I’m sure AMD and Intel are completely onboard with losing their revenue stream like that. I’m sure Dell sees that as a totally viable business model for the future.

Further, we already have cloud computing, right now, this very moment, in all our lives. People store their pictures with Flickr and Facebook. Twitter, Blogs, and Email let people communicate in nearly real-time. Discussion forums let people chat and share ideas in nearly real-time. I don’t see how cloud computing actually enhances that. Where does it fit in?

You want me to run my word processing software on some server somewhere and hope that I always have a reliable and stable Internet connection to use it? I should put all my financial information out in some cloud that at any time could become inaccessible to me or the company could cut me off or jack up the price of their service and hold my data hostage? These sound like great ideas. Sign me up!

Cloud Computing is a neat sounding name for an idea we’ve had around for 40+ years. It certainly has it’s place for sharing and connecting people – for those that who want to play along – but running every app in some cloud and storing the most personal of data out there? I think not.

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