Configuration Systems

Rob McEwen rob at
Fri Jun 8 10:14:54 CDT 2012

On 6/8/2012 10:44 AM, Keith Medcalf wrote:
> That is *the* definition of "Cloud".  The term "Cloud" is a proxy for the expression "under the exclusive control of a third-party over which we have no influence nor control in order to gain plausibile denibility and CYA ptotection if something bad happens".

Here is my take on this...

I think that hosting/datacenter admins sat around one day and lamented
about the fact that so many of their clients were buying dedicated
hosting servers and utilizing a very tiny percent of the CPU & storage.
Often, the customer had been burned by "shared hosting" years earlier
because of another shared hosting customer on the same server crashing
the entire server, thus making everyone on that box suffer. So dedicated
hosting became critical for many businesses who outsourced their
hosting. But, again, many of those boxes sat year round utilizing
something like <5% of CPU, and <5% of the available disk space (after OS

Then "virtual servers" matured, where you could create entire logically
partitioned boxes running on the same server. These were sold as
"virtual dedicated" servers, which was a step up from "shared hosting",
and a step down from getting a dedicated server. But many didn't like
this because they it was inherent that they were stuck on the same box
with other customers. Those with deep pockets didn't take the bait. It
had a niche, but didn't make for a good "sales pitch".

Next, they found a way to leverage virtual servers by making it so that
the virtual server didn't have to reside on one box... but could
dynamically use various resources from a server farm, as needed. (for a
simplified explanation). Thus, the "cloud" was then born.

Now... all those unused CPU cycles and disk space are not wasted any
more... they are dynamically put to use. RESULT>>>the aggregate sum of
all that re-allocatable drive space and CPU cycles is ENORMOUS. It makes
for a massively more efficient leveraging of hardware and software. The
ratio of hardware costs to costumer revenue is massively better for a
hoster/datacenter compared to selling traditional dedicated servers.

That is not necessarily bad because some of the cost savings is passed
back to the consumer in the form of lower prices. So this is not evil.
Plus, there is an ability to "scale up" that exists with the cloud
(where affordable!).

But the funny part about this is that (a) the extent that cost savings
are passed back to the client AND (b) the improved "scale up"
technology.. those are the ONLY 2 benefits of cloud computing.
Everything else is to benefit the hoster/datacenter. That so many
CEOs/CTOs/directors/etc have bought into the hype, and see some kind of
magical benefits seemingly beyond this... is just amazing.

Personally, I prefer paying a little extra for my own dedicated and/or
co-located servers... where I'm in total control of ALL aspects of

Rob McEwen
rob at
+1 (478) 475-9032

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