Working in the Cloud

March 27, 2008

A thought experiment of what it might be like for a user working for a full cloud enabled company. Meaning a company that has moved its entire IT infrastructure to the cloud.

The workers  will still use a laptop-like device optimized for the cloud. I can’t resist, let’s call it a cloudtop. It might be much like a MacBook Air though an iPhone would work equally well. I just like laptops over phones or PDAs. And an aside, further proof that Steve Jobs is really a time-travelling alien who comes to us from about 10 years in the future.

The cloudtop has WiFI, WiMax and cellular, so it is connected to the cloud all the time from just about anywhere. It also has a VoIP+cellular phone so it can place calls from just about anywhere, automatically picking VoIP where ever possible of course.

At the office, the cloudtop doesn’t need to be plugged into anything. It is already connected to the cloud. In fact. there is nowhere to connect it, the office has no need for networking, and has none. Just electrical power, to recharge the batteries. No telephone network either, the cloudtop has VoIP already. The company uses a CloudPBX service to route all of its calls, available from anywhere of course.

Which leads to the question, why have the office at all? All it provides are empty desks and empty meeting rooms. You don’t need to lease expensive business real estate for those. The business doesn’t reside there, it is in the virtual “real estate” in the cloud.


Data Warehouses

March 27, 2008

I never really liked those star and snowflake schemas, they seemed to be building too much of the supposed application into the data model. To me, a data warehouse should be as neutral as possible to support future possible applications. I’ve always preferred that the data warehouse be close to the OLTP source and maybe even more normalized to remove the OTLP performance hacks. We understand the OLTP data model because it supports the real business, if the data warehouse is more or less the same, it is also easy to understand. Those star schemas just confuse me, I can’t tell if the data is in any way correct. If you need a star schema as a hack for a particular problem, it is fine to roll one up as a copy (or data mart) but don’t build the warehouse on that sort of thing.

Column oriented databases  are interesting. See <http://www.databasecolumn.com/&gt;. The fact that the legendary Michael Stonebraker is involved in this alone makes it interesting. I think they’re onto something and it seems to be a way to get around some of the performance issues without the complexity of star schemas.


Gibson was Wrong

March 27, 2008

Gibson being William Gibson the author who is often credited with coining the term cyberspace in his novel Neuromancer. He gave us the romantic metaphor for the early internet as this alternate utopia where the “real” world rules didn’t or couldn’t apply. Many early users really believed it too.

Truth is, it wasn’t that the real world rules didn’t apply, it was just that the real world didn’t care enough to bother. As long as there was no money and few users, no one cared what sort of utopia Net users dreamed of. Remember back when the ‘Net was non-commercial?

Now that there is lots of money to be made, the “real” world  cares big time and cyberspace has evaporated. The real world has simply absorbed it.

If anything, many of us now may think the real world rules don’t apply enough as we find the internet has become a haven for spammers and thieves

To the millenium generation the notion of cyberspace is quaint at best. They have never known a world without full time high speed connectivity, without always on instant messaging, etc.. It is just a part of their “real” world.