Just A Thought About A Cloud Internet

Cloud computing comes to NERSC

Cloud computing comes to NERSC (Photo credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

On Monday, I flipped through Flipboard and couldn’t understand why halfway through Flipboard threw a tantrum.  The tantrum went on a long time, and so I had to refrain from using Flipboard until late in the night, adhering to eastern standard time.  Today, the New York Times’ “Amazon Cloud Service Goes Down and Takes Popular Sites With It” piece confirmed Flipboard’s Monday tantrum.  Of course, not only Flipboard but other huge, gigantic kind of services that use Amazon for cloud services had also experienced the Monday case.  Monday, Amazon acknowledged that cloud servers experienced degraded performance and problems with the Northern Virginia data center(according to the New York Times).

I’m making a big deal of this incident is to point out that cloud services (as in singular) isn’t invulnerable to outage.  In fact, I believe (but not knowing for sure) that cloud services might have a tendency to breakdown even more since the complication of keeping everything tidying within a cloud is not that simple.  Of course, when a cloud is doing everything right, it can be way more resilient than non-cloud services.

Amazon is one of the biggest cloud players in the market.  Whenever Amazon has cloud problems, it shows that cloud services can be just as vulnerable as non-cloud services.  I think cloud services (as in singular) is more resilient in many ways (e.g., data redundancy, scalable computing, etc…), but whenever it sneezes million of services will catch a cold too.  This prompts me to ask a question, how much bigger a cloud needs to be so that a common cold won’t be powerful enough to infect a cloud?

I imagine, a company Y which provides cloud services to have a backchannel which connects to a cloud infrastructure of company X, and when company Y experiences a cloud cold, company X’s cloud infrastructure would kick in to cure the cold for the cloud of company Y.  The billing will reflect the rescue operation, therefore there is an incentive to setup this sort of backup cloud infrastructure between these gigantic cloud companies.  Imagine this scenario would be interconnected as large as if there is a separate Internet, but this Internet is responsible for cloud services only.

Of course, just like the Internet, if a company isn’t too careful in applying security protections and so forth, a cloud Internet can be just as infectious as the regular Internet.  A cold in a cloud Internet has the ability to infect way many more services than a regular cloud.  If this is the case, why would I think a cloud Internet is better?  Resiliency is the answer if a service does care about not ever going down for a cloud outage.  I think the cloud Internet would definitely be large enough to absorb most cloud outages and allow time for the cloud outages to be fixed and reenergized.  Then again, I might not know what I’m talking about since I’ve never actually operated and engineered a cloud.  (Almost forget to bring this up, perhaps encryption would be the panacea for data security since cloud backchannels might get rather even more murkier in term of who is in charge of whose data.)

Source:  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/amazon-cloud-service-goes-down-and-takes-some-popular-web-sites-with-it/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Apture Introduces Additional Relevant Contents And Retains Web Visitors For Websites

I think Apture is pretty ingenious.  It allows website owners to retain visitors on their websites a little longer if not long enough.  Albeit, it’s entirely depending on the web visitors’ behaviors, but Apture does give web visitors a chance to explore deeper into certain texts/topics that are mentioned on certain websites.  By highlighting certain texts, Apture will present an option for web visitors to see related stories and web links to the current highlighted texts.  The magic is that Apture won’t redirect web visitors away from the owners’ websites.  Instead of anything, Apture opens up an extra layer in Javascript and present additional information on the highlighted texts that way.

The first drawback for Apture is that it requires web visitors to enable Javascript on their browsers.  Security conscious web visitors may not have their browsers enabled with Javascript.  I use a Firefox’s plugin known as Noscript to block Javascript automatically, and I from time  to time enable Javascript manually for my favorite websites that I know to be clean only.  The second drawback for Apture is that web visitors will not know about its capability until they perchance/accidentally highlight over certain texts.  Nonetheless, I must admit Apture’s appealing nature is its ability to provide additional relevant contents for web visitors of certain websites.

In conclusion, as long Apture’s intention is pure and stays that way, then I don’t see anything wrong of using Apture to provide additional information on just about any text that is currently made available on websites.  I myself has enabled Apture through CloudFlare service, and I have to admit that it’s certainly a wonderful additional capability for my website to exhibit.  Oh, it’s free too by the way!  My wish is that Apture continues to improve its application capability and stay pure somehow by not corrupting websites’ owners with junk links and information and advertisements.  Then again, I understand that nothing is FREE, because everyone has to make a living.  Let just hope Apture’s creator is able to find way of making living through Apture without corrupting the very application’s appealing nature.  For now, Apture rocks my world!