The “Rush to the Cloud” – Not So Fast…

Had a great time on Wednesday on a panel at the “Defense 2.0” conference, at the Arlington Ritz-Carlton.  I believe I learned as much from my fellow panelists from Cisco, IBM and so forth – about the importance of information security and assurance – as any conference in recent memory.  The story in Government Computer News (“Defense 2.0 a Work in Progress“) captures the views of most of the speakers. 

I had a gentle and gentlemanly disagreement with the keynote speaker, Mike Nelson.  Mike has a distinguished career, working with Internet-inventor Al Gore while he was VP, and later Director of Internet Technology and Strategy at IBM.  I offered that he was perhaps slightly overly enamored of the “rush to the Cloud” school of thinking.  I’ve written about that school of thought before, and the balance of where computing power is likely to reside in future, given Moore’s Law for the foreseeable future.  The GCN quotes capture my thinking in short form: there’ll be the cloud, along with increasingly powerful computing in local form factors (some desktops, more laptops, handhelds, mobiles, and embedded-computing forms of all sorts).

If you’d like to see where some of our research is heading, check out this RFP description (awards were two months ago) for “Safe and Scalable Multicore Computing,” a set of Microsoft Research three-year projects just beginning. As it points out, “The emergence of multicore/manycore architectures and the expected rapid growth in the number of cores per chip is changing the landscape of computing,” and parallel architectures are really still emerging – huge growth field.

Multicore: This is the one which will have the biggest impact on us. We have never had a problem to solve like this. A breakthrough is needed in how applications are done on multicore devices.” – Bill Gates

“It’s time we rethought some of the basics of computing. It’s scary and lots of fun at the same time.” – Burton Smith

Oh – one amusing typo from the GCN story: when it gets down to my remarks, just before I got in my inevitable plug for semantic computing, I was speaking about “manycore and multicore processors,” but perhaps because I was talking about their powering small devices or being embedded to drive services, it came out as “mini-core.” 

Okay, wow, maybe that’s a geek view of an amusing typo….  Won’t see it on Jay Leno I suspect 🙂


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4 Responses

  1. […] The “Rush to the Cloud” – Not So Fast… « Shepherd’s Pi I offered that he was perhaps slightly overly enamored of the “rush to the Cloud” school of thinking. I’ve written about that school of thought before, and the balance of where computing power is likely to reside in future, given Moore’s Law for the foreseeable future. The GCN quotes capture my thinking in short form. […]


  2. […] The “Rush to the Cloud” – Not So Fast… « Shepherd’s Pi […]


  3. Interesting timing. I posted about Cloud Computing this morning in reference to DISA’s deal with HP to provide the infrastructure for it for the DoD.

    Personally, I’m very enthusiastic about Cloud Computing’s military applications as a potential solution to issues at the Company level and below where laptops and PDAs regularly suffer from limited computational power, particularly when processing large amounts of data.

    I’m also very happy to see Microsoft working on its own “Platform-as-a-Service” to compete with Google App Engine and Amazon Web Services.


  4. Hi Jeffrey – I’m still confused by the HP deal, because also at the conference this week was DISA’s CIO, and he was pretty clear that DISA was waiting on any large-scale (or even medium-scale) move to cloud services. The HP press release may be a tad exaggerated.

    Your point on theater-environments (laptops and PDAs in theater) is well taken, and MS and others are deploying software-based solutions which greatly enhance the onboard computational resources. Check out for example SeaDragon, unlimited zooming ability for huge image files even on a tiny handheld. That’s what we get from Software + Services – counting on just one or the other doesn’t hold as much promise.

    Thanks for the comment! -lewis


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