Reading time: 4 - 6 minutes
Total Video Time: 29 minutes 26 seconds
Dr. Werner Vogels (@Werner on Twitter) is the Chief Technology Officer of Amazon.com and one of the key drivers of innovation within the company. As a result of his experience developing Amazon’s systems, he is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on scalable systems. With the natural expansion of these systems being “Cloud Computing,” it’s no wonder Dr. Vogels is an expert in this area as well.
What is “cloud computing” though? The term is still being defined, yet one doesn’t have to look too far from scalable systems to see the common elements. For example, instead of having immense databases and records administered locally, cloud computing seeks to shift everything you’ll allow it to, to a distant server maintained by another party—”the cloud.” Systems no longer have to be designed for peak capacity or go obsolete in several years time. Many of the limitations that were once inherent in operating computers are lifted. It is the transformation from computer capacity being a finite commodity to an infinitely available utility.
Vogels begins with a brief exploration of what cloud computing is to him and Amazon and what is capable within the cloud, moving on to note that the true beauty of the cloud infrastructure is that the people using the systems, not the designers, are the ones pushing the limit and developing new and innovative uses.
The wonder of cloud computing is that it has the potential to transform many industries not only from within, but by outside influence as well. OnLive (@OnLiveGames on Twitter) is a recently established company founded by Steve Perlman to allow entry-level computers to run the latest games at top quality. The secret is in utilizing processing power elsewhere and simply streaming the resultant video to your computer. Taken to the extreme, this results in the ultimate thin clients: computers that do nothing but go online, accessing content elsewhere.
No new technology is not without its drawbacks though! Frank Gillett, vice-president and principal analyst of Forrester Research cautions us that due to the incredible potential of cloud computing, the hype is overblown right now. The changes that will be brought about are very real, but it is important to view things with a judicial eye and not be drawn in by the new buzzword.
Think of the past, envision the future!