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T-SQL Tuesday #48–Cloud Atlas

November 12, 2013

tsqltuesdayI never saw the movie, though it’s on my list to watch sometime. I love the Wachowski’s as directors.

This month Jorge Segarra is hosting. He is better known as the SQLChicken, and his theme this month is Cloud Atlas. He’s asking us to write about the cloud and what we think of it. What’s our take on the cloud. He wants to know if we’ve used it, what we think, probably how we even define it. It’s a great question with all the media and hype about the cloud, especially for data professionals.

This is a monthly blog party, where bloggers write on a specific topic every month, on the second Tuesday. I’ve got a complete list of topics on this blog, and to participate, do this:

  • write a blog
  • publish it on the Tuesday, November 12, 2013 (for this month)
  • be sure a trackback or comment is on Jorge’s blog invitation
  • include the T-SQL Tuesday logo, linked to the invitation.

That’s it. Write, and enjoy.

The Cloud Atlas

What is the cloud? It’s been hyped in commercials and numerous articles, and to some extent I think we don’t have a good definition. We have PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS, all of which are legitimately the “cloud” for different people.

As far as I’m concerned, the cloud really is any computing service that is provided by a vendor. This means you don’t own the hardware and rent out either a machine (physical or virtual), a service, a set of APIs, etc. This exclude co-location, but anything else from renting a VM to using IFTTT, is cloud computing.

With that in mind, what do I think? There are certainly problems with the cloud in terms of security and recovery of data. However I think the promise of renting out computing resources (machines/platform/software/services) in a scalable fashion is amazing to me.

Do I use the cloud? Sure. I have Evernote, Skydrive and Dropbox to keep my data in sync. My family uses OurGroceries to manage a shopping list. We daughter is hooked on Spotify, which alleviates the need to keep much music on her device. I even have backups of data on Glacier.

On the career side, we (SQLServerCentral and Red Gate) offer AdventureWorks on Azure for users to play with. I’ve done minor work in Azure, and spun up a SQL instance on AWS. I haven’t actually done anything more than test, personally, but certainly the cloud is useful for SQLServerCentral. We host our database server and web server on virtual machines we rent from Rackspace. We use a Content Delivery Network for some videos and YouTube for others. We’ve dramatically lowered costs and increased scale with the cloud.

The cloud works.

Sometimes.

For some applications.

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