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Jon Stødle
Jon Stødle

Posted on • Originally published at on

It's not just someone else's computer

I have to take a stand against the expression which have become so popular:

"The cloud is just someone else's computer."

First off; it might be a revelation to some people, who aren't very technical, but have now suddenly discovered cloud computing, that The Cloud is actually built on top of a lot of servers, which again is a highly specialized computers. That might feel like it's "just someone else's computer."

But. For any technically inclined person, this is not an excuse.

Saying it's "just someone else's computer", is like saying that a taxi is "just someone else's car."

Apart from the server itself, there is so much else that's done for you in the cloud. There's maintenance, repairs, upgrades and replacement. You don't have to invest in a new server, you only pay for what you use.

If you're using software as a service, even updates and patches to the operating system, the software itself and supporting systems are handled in the background.

There's an infrastructure which is kept up to date. And that infrastructure is connected to the backbone of the internet. It means that instead of having your server trudge through all the proverbial small country roads before getting to the highway, it's directly connected to the large highway instead.

There is so much work and orchestration going on in the background that makes it so very, very much more than someone else's computer.


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Top comments (6)

lp1eu profile image
Jérémie (Lupin)

Still basically "someone else's computer" in the end, no matter how it's managed.

It's a statement about the fact that the data you put in the "cloud" isn't stored in a magic secure place but in someone else's hard drive.

It doesn't excludes the fact that it has to be managed and that it's a lot of work.

jonstodle profile image
Jon Stødle

Sometimes it feels like people mean "oh, it's just a computer running somewhere else", but it's also so much more around it.

But I see your point. "The cloud" isn't a magical place where code goes to live and make things happen.

rkfg profile image

For me it was always "someone else's computer" and not "someone else's computer". Privacy goes first and here you entrust your data to other people, not just upload it "to the Internet".

antonfrattaroli profile image
Anton Frattaroli

Whenever I use this phrase it's because my company has its own cloud and it isn't beneficial for us to run our software on another company's cloud.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

It might benefit in some case though, right? Could there be a service operated by some provider more tailored to a use-case or backed by some expertise you don't have in house?

antonfrattaroli profile image
Anton Frattaroli

Yeah I forgot about video streaming. We don't want that throughput on our lines. So not just someone else's computer, but their ISP too.

As far as hosting vs. support... I can't think of an example where we haven't chosen on-prem (if available) and, if the software is exotic, then hired contracted development/support.