mannerisms

Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Wishy-Washy Euro-bollox

The British Computer Society – BCS  - ‘The Chartered Institute for IT’ has got a post on its web-site calling for contributions to  ”EC Public Consultation on Cloud Computing.”

The post states: “The development of a European Cloud Computing Strategy is one of the actions of the Digital Agenda; Europe’s strategy for a flourishing digital economy by 2020.”

 

Why Cloud Computing when PCs come with half a terabyte of HDD; multi-TByte external drives are available for £100; wired telcos are barely increasing investment in cable; and wireless telcos are congenitally behind the curve on demand?

 

So why Cloud Computing – i.e. storing your programmes and data remotely  rather than on your hard disc, when a TByte or two of local storage should satisfy most people’s lifetime requirement for programmes and data storage, and when reliance on flaky, over-crowded, often unreliable, sometime non-existent and usually slow links is a recipe for frustration?

 

Furthermore, what ‘development’ could profitably be organised by the EC when the whole Cloud Computing thing depends on installing LTE and fibre-optic cables and that is the responsibility of the telcos?

 

Cynics might suggest that ‘The development of a European Cloud Computing Strategy’ is a vague, broad catch-all title for almost any IT project.

 

Anyone with a project involving storage, processing or networking would stand a chance of qualifying for Euro-largesse under such a widely drawn proposal.

 

Is this wishy-washy Euro-thinking on technology, designed so the Eurocracy can get  another fund of tax-payers’ money into which to dip their fingers?

 

I think it might be.

Tags: curve, digital agenda, fingers, lifetime, terabyte

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14 Comments

  1. September 21, 2011 17:38

    The cloud is great – about time Europe got onto it, and BT got round to fitting decent broadband in Wendover.

  2. The Baron
    September 21, 2011 12:38

    What happens when there are blue skies?
    More seriously though, why do folk need access to 100s of GB of data 24/7? I carry about 40 contact numbers on my (t)rusty W810i mobile (*) and the other critical information goes on a few post-its in my wallet (non-volatile sotrage) or biro on the back of my mitts (volatile storage). Somehow I still get by in modern times without a struggle…
    Baron Von Luddite
    (* – I’ll maybe “smart phone” when it no longer involves fitting an A5 envelope into my trouser pocket with an extension lead so there’s actually power left when I want to, you know, make a call…)

  3. September 21, 2011 07:40

    At the risk of being the black sheep here…
    Let me start by saying I hate the term cloud computing as much as any other reader/commenter here, but that’s simply because it is a “marketing term”. But what it stands for still makes sense to me.
    Anyone who thinks cloud computing is about moving the contents of your c:\ to a location in the cloud has not got it.
    Yes, we all have gazillion bytes of storage, but will you want to carry on your storage device youtube content or facebook content or the inventory of amazon and the catalog of netflix? (Am assuming here that the data mentioned above is used by you. If that is not the case, pardon me, but you might be a statistical anomaly).
    The internet is about ever increasing amount of data. And the first law about data is that if you make copies of data, you will spend money keeping the copies in sync – or risk that the copies are not in sync. This holds for data as much as it does for “software upgrades”.
    Cloud computing makes a lot of sense in the B2B world. If you are a big retailer (think of supermarket chains) or a big distributor…one can’t even begin to imagine how you could survive without (yeah, i still hate the word) “cloud”.
    Or, if you are a small company (less than 50 people), or even a mid-sized co (less than 500 people) you can no longer afford to have private “web scale” infrastructure. You will need the cloud infrastructure so that people can access your products/services from a variety of devices 24*7. And then there is data mining and analysis, migrations to newer / more powerful systems (both hardware and software), plugins for everything from advertisements to analytics, customer data or HR data…the whole damn thing is networked. Meaning, it is the “cloud”.
    Regarding other points such as telcos/uptime etc…I just have this to say: You don’t stop innovating on cars because your highways are under repair. Or because you have toll booths.
    In conclusion: Am not overly optimistic about EU funded projects (having seen a few over the years), but cloud computing as a topic does make sense. I don’t know whether this EU project will succeed, but the least it can do is educate Europeans on what Cloud computing is really about :-)

  4. David Manners
    September 20, 2011 19:45

    Not to worrry – it’s our error, Stooriefit, and happens too often and you’re right, the only sensible Cloud Computing strategy for Europe is for the EC to subsidise/kick the telcos to put in efficient, capacious links to, as you say, ‘the arse-end of nowhere’. Well said

  5. Stooriefit
    September 20, 2011 19:04

    Sorry! You server told me ther was an error and to try re-submitting!
    Bloody clouds.

  6. Stooriefit
    September 20, 2011 18:58

    The cloud is useful for those devices which don’t have 1TB of storage, as a way of making them more than competitive with traditional PCs which do.
    As such the EU should be behind cloud computing, as it makes ARM and those remaining EU semiconductor houses which punt it more and more relevant.
    I can tell them what their cloud computing strategy should be without all this consultation rigmarole though… Bang heads at the telcos to get a 22nd C wireless infrastructure to reach all the way to the arse end of nowhere, and subsidise them if they use local equipment suppliers like they would in China.

  7. Mr Cynical
    September 20, 2011 17:08

    Trust me Dr Bob you are being…….:0)
    But join the club it’s growing fast

  8. David Manners
    September 20, 2011 16:35

    No, Dr Bob, it’s a well-practised strategy. When Infineon led 300mm development backed by the German government it went off and flogged the technology to the Taiwanese setting up jvs with them. It’s an excellent wheeze but, of course, doesn’t help the poor old European taxpayer who funded the whole thing.

  9. Dr Bob
    September 20, 2011 16:24

    A lot of companies will take any grants available to develop a ‘cloud’ implementation and then shift the ‘cloud’ access point from Europe to offshore, eg India, to save costs.
    or is that too cynical?

  10. David Manners
    September 20, 2011 15:55

    But it has been, RobertI, it was first used in Mannerisms on July 30th 2008. May I refer you to:
    http://www.electronicsweekly.com/blogs/david-manners-semiconductor-blog/2008/07/running-scared-in-cloud-cuckoo.html#more

  11. RobertI
    September 20, 2011 15:49

    1. “Computing Strategy” is an oxymoron – the technology changes too quickly and too disruptively.
    2. I am disappointed that the obvious “Cloud-Cuckoo-Land Computing Strategy” has not already been referred to.

  12. Mr Cynical
    September 20, 2011 15:14

    Probably more €’s for the French Companies to spend?
    However not much good when the internet goes down for four days like it did on us this year. You really want to hear all the excuses to who’s fault it was, talk about Teflon shoulders.
    Dropbox works for me :0)

  13. David Manners
    September 20, 2011 14:55

    Synchronise what with what? [Anonymous]

  14. Anonymous
    September 20, 2011 14:51

    Of course, the better Cloud Solutions synchronise with the files on your computer, so that you have the best of both worlds.

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