Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interesting posts on the "Principles of Cloud Oriented Architecture", and "Cloud Computing Bill of Rights"

I've been reading James Urquhart's blog The Wisdom of Clouds for some time now - a leading thinker in the emergent space of Cloud-based architecture.

In particular, the following recent posts are especially worth reading:

Update: the Cloud Computing Bill of Rights

The Principles of Cloud Oriented Architecture

Generally I agree with James that, since the world is now coasting towards a single common, shared Cloud Oriented Architecture that a set of common principles, rights and responsibilities can and should be drafted (but I would ask by whom?). As with any technological advance, the social and legal effects cannot be thought through soon enough before the impact of the change is felt. The question of jurisdiction will always be hardest - which authorities govern and legislate for data and other services in the (international and potentially off-planet) Cloud? Technology moves ever more quickly than the human population can keep up.

In some ways this "Bill of Rights" reminds me of a political manifesto - there will be diametrically opposing views on privacy and security for example from the governments of many countries, and so the practical question is *how* such a BoR would ever come to realised.

However, another way to look at the BoR is as a requirements spec trying to solve 3 discrete technical problems:

  • Providing clear ownership of data and avoiding Cloud services providers ever "owning" their customers' data.
  • Providing clear accountability (=measurable!) for Cloud service levels
  • Providing clear ownership of (patented?) intellectual property underlying a Cloud service
James has brought us all a long way by articulating these vulnerabilities in today's Cloud services model - however I personally think that it's more likely that these issues will be addressed successfully (and cheaper!) using technology rather than by the law.

1 comment:

James Urquhart said...

Thanks, Ben, and I couldn't agree more. I never really meant for the CCBOR to be a policy platform--though the folks at GeekPAC have suggested they'd like to use it as a base for the work they are embarking on. Rather, I meant it purely as a statement of what customers should be striving for from their cloud providers. This, in turn, becomes a base for what developers should design into their systems, both in support of elements that exist, and to work around elements that are missing or broken.

I look forward to seeing if the computing rights movement gains some traction. (As noted on the GeekPAC mailing list, nothing was really mentioned during the Democratic convention.) However, my immediate focus is going to be on extending these concepts into a Cloud Oriented Architecture.

I look forward to further participation from you and your readers.