Professor Predicts The Cloud Will Be More Important Than The Net

According to Mike Nelson, the relevance of the Internet in all facets of modern life is decreasing as cloud computing takes the stage. Nelson, a Georgetown University professor, gave a speech at the World Future Society in Boston on Friday, where he predicted cloud computing would eventually be more important than the Internet as services evolve.

"In the mid-90s there was a clear conscience about what the Internet was going to be," Nelson said. "We don't have as good a conscience as we did in the '90s, so we may not get there...the cloud is more important than the Web."

One of the problems when discussing cloud computing is that there's still no exact definition for what cloud computing actually is. If Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud is cloud computing, what about online backup programs, Facebook, or Flickr? Are XBox Live and the PSN console versions of cloud computing? How we define the term has an impact on how we perceive the future importance of the cloud.

Professor Nelson is confident of the cloud's long-term importance, but we don't share his vision. One of the goals of cloud computing is to make information device-agnostic; your mobile phone would be capable of displaying a real-time 3D rendering that's actually being computed by a massive rack of servers somewhere else. There are significant technical and financial barriers that would have to be overcome in order for cloud computing to actually push the Internet out of the way.

It's no small irony that while various handset providers and telcos profess full support for a content-rich, media-heavy mobile experience, they're quietly killing unlimited data plans and returning to the days of AOL, when exceeding your hourly plan resulted in the company charging you heavily for each additional hour. Traditional ISPs have experimented with bandwidth limitations, but the ceilings are typically much higher than a wireless plan. This is part of what allows cloud-based services to prosper—confined to a standard 3G contract, users might well avoid a data-heavy cloud compute resource so they don't exceed their monthly data plans.

The other major issue is the high discrepancy between upload and download speeds. In the Louisville, KY area, AT&T's best offer is 6Mb down / 512kb up. Translate this into better terminology and that's 750KB/s download and 64KB/s upload. In practice, 500KB/s is the highest download speed we've seen, with the upload pegged at 50K.

If the cloud is going to grow, both consumers and businesses need access to faster upload links. Even at a steady 50KB/s, it would take a person 231 days to transfer a single terabyte of data, assuming the connection never broke. Businesses have access to faster uploads, but such services are more expensive than standard data plans. Finally, there's some question as to whether or not cloud systems can even provide access to certain fundamental Internet capabilities. Social network clouds are easy. Servers-on-demand compute clouds are easy. Can anyone see a cloud application taking over Google we think not. Information search and retrieval is just one example of a critical Internet function that no social network site can duplicate.

In the end, the debate over cloud computing is the kissing cousin of the fight over thin-client vs fat-client systems. In this case, we definitely expect cloud computing's popularity to grow, but we don't see it becoming more relevant than the Internet anytime soon.
Via:  PC World
NThompson 4 years ago

I don't think I can't trust a guy that does not know the difference between the Internet and the web. The Internet is the link because every system that is a part of the Internet, the web is a system on the Internet that allows the display different types of information. The "cloud" is a buzzword based on somebody seeing a network diagram and saw that "The Internet" had a cloud drawn around it.

acarzt 4 years ago

The internet and web are the same thing.

I think you mean the difference between a network and internet.

Eitherway... "Cloud" anything I think is kind of stupid because it's stuff that has already existed for a long time... they're just giving it a new name... like Eyefinity... I don't like when people do that... try to rebrand an old idea as a new innovation.

Web hosting, any type of remote storage, remote computing(such as virtualization) etc. could all be considered  "The Cloud". On Live... which is just a server farm with some nifty software would be considered cloud computing.

acarzt 4 years ago

The Internet is the network of the many servers and computers that comprise... the web

The Web is the web/network or the many servers and computer that comprise... the internet.

It's all the same, just different names for it.

A Website is a single hub for providing data.

A network is the means of making this data available.

Joel H 4 years ago

*laugh* I agree.

Joel H 4 years ago

Also Acarzt the Internet and the World Wide Web are *not* the same thing. You can have the Internet without the World Wide Web, but you can't have the WWW without the Internet.

acarzt 4 years ago

You can have intr*A*net without WWW. You cannot have int*E*rnet without WWW because they are the same thing.

You can easily create a HTML file that is available locally only, but that is an intranet, not internet.


acarzt 4 years ago

I guess really it can be up to opinion and views.

I understand why you see www and internet serperate. You view www as webpages that exist on the internet.

I view WWW as the web of computers. Internetwork would be the "proper term" and WWW is the "buzz" word.

WWW is not a network protocol, so I do not see it as existing on the internet. Webpages exist through HTTP or HTTPS or FTP or whatever protocol you are using.

This webpage or website is a spot on the web, it is assigned an IP address and it is available over HTTP on the internet or world wide web(of computers and servers)

acarzt 4 years ago

I will concede tho that 20 years ago when they set out to create what they were calling the world wide web, it was only intended for hypertext. What they created was the HTTP protocol and they continued calling it the web.

But now, the web consists of so much more than just HTTP. Many protocols are used over the web.

If you view WWW as it's original intent, only HTTP than I can agree.

But to me it has evolved beyond that and encompasses so much more.

acarzt 4 years ago

In trying to prove my point, I have convinced myself otherwise lol..... It is late, I am at work and my mind is all over the place.... But reverting back to the trusty old OSI model has helped me to see things differently.

If considering the origin of WWW and removing the hardware element, even with as much as the web has changed. The internet exists on all levels of the OSI model while WWW does not. While an HTML file exists as data on a hard drive, it can not exist on the physical layer.

With the complexity of everythiing out there on the web\internet it is easy to lump them together because we're not just dealing with http anymore.

But I give in and will agree that they are seperate. And I blame Microsoft for my confusion :-) I've spent far too much time studying active directory, exchange, load balancing, and blah blah blah *sigh* I need to go to bed. lol


SJones 2 years ago

People have varied opinions about the Cloud computing technology and describe it from their own perspective, but I guess this to be one of the reasons why cloud has become such a popular word today. Now, in this case where cloud is said to be more important that the Net, it should be asked if there are any other ways of establishing connections with the servers hosted at distant locations.

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