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It’s raining in the cloud

Like many people, I store much of my data in what is very loosely called “the cloud”. Google stores many of my documents, email, social contacts, and calendar. Ning holds many of my online interactions, as do Twitter and Facebook. The freedom of not being tied to one device is great. The cloud model is still a bit undeveloped, however. It’s undeveloped in terms of definition: is cloud computing simply using online services? Or is it more about the technological infrastructure? What about public and private clouds (I remember private Bluetooth networks promising a new way to interact with multiple devices)? Cloud computing needs to be defined more clearly if we are to talk about it meaningfully.
A recent report suggests that the end user experience of clouds is problematic as services like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google “suffer from regular performance and availability issues”. With certain services – such as Gmail – down time is rare. With other services – such as Twitter – it’s almost a given. Cloud computing is still a recent development. I don’t think current headaches differ much from the painful desktop computing experiences of the late ’80s.