How Cloud Computing Went From Shared IT Services to Causing Stephen Colbert to Become an Empty Flesh Terminal

During a recent segment on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert takes on “the cloud”. He describes how technology, in particular “the cloud”, turns people into empty flesh terminals that rely on it for all their ideas, memories and relationships. Whoa, when did that happen? Let’s take a look at some cloud computing descriptions I found across the Internet from 2008 to 2011. Perhaps that will shed some light on the situation:

Basically, cloud computing is an approach to a shared IT infrastructure in which large pools of computer systems are linked together to provide IT services. Since it accesses "virtual" resources, cloud computing is not limited by the power and capabilities of local or remote computers. It is the next generation of enterprise data centers, which operate like the Internet, providing extreme scale and fast access to networked users. Cloud computing offers a simplified, centralized platform for use when needed, lowering costs and energy use. Unlike grid computing, which distributes IT for a specific task, cloud computing is used across an entire range of activities. The platforms getting the most media attention are externally hosted services, but others are used inside companies, especially those operating globally.

Cloud computing is computing model, not a technology. In this model of computing, all the servers, networks, applications and other elements related to data centers are made available to IT and end users via the Internet, in a way that allows IT to buy only the type and amount of computing services that they need. The cloud model differs from traditional outsourcers in that customers don't hand over their own IT resources to be managed. Instead they plug into the "cloud" for infrastructure services, platform (operating system) services, or software services (such as SaaS apps), treating the "cloud" much as they would an internal data center or computer providing the same functions.”

Imagine your PC and all of your mobile devices being in sync—all the time. Imagine being able to access all of your personal data at any given moment. Imagine having the ability to organize and mine data from any online source. Imagine being able to share that data—photos, movies, contacts, e-mail, documents, etc.—with your friends, family, and coworkers in an instant. This is what cloud computing promises to deliver.

2011 (Here comes the iCloud)
It’s the effortless way to access just about everything on all your devices. iCloud stores your content so it’s always accessible from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.* It gives you instant access to your music, apps, latest photos, and more. And it keeps your email, contacts, and calendars up to date across all your devices. No syncing required. No management required. In fact, no anything required. iCloud does it all for you.

Luckily for Stephen, he doesn't have to "entrust the theoretical storage spaces owned by large multi-national corporations to be the sole providers of his life story" – as described in his segment - to take advantage of efficiencies the cloud can offer. Today’s private cloud environment allows him to create his own secure cloud, leveraging the vastly deployed and well networked Data Center,Virtual Compute and Storage environments to deploy the contents of his mind into.  Hosted Security Offerings, Advanced Access Control and Identity Management Solutions give him the ability to access his outsourced mind in a secure and reliable fashion.

If you happen to be reading, Stephen, Windstream would like to build you your very own private cloud. Have your people call our people and let's make it happen.