Cloud Computing Companies Are Not Delivering on Their Promises. It’s Time to Replace Them.
July 24, 2018 by Bitsonline PR
In March of 2017, one of Amazon’s S3 cloud storage centers experienced a service outage — and the entire online world felt the effects. For several hours, Amazon scrambled to restore the hundreds of online services dependent on its servers, and in the meantime the world was simply left to wait.
This is a press release provided by Vanbex
A single human error at a single datacenter led to cascading outages that affected everything from Netflix to garage door openers to smart, cloud-controlled light bulbs. Amazon said that it understood the magnitude of the problem, and vowed never to let anything similar happen ever again.
Well, this March, it happened again.
The promises of the cloud were clear: offload storage and computing tasks to remote data centers, increasing usability and saving money at the same time. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and many other professional cloud services were supposed to be the end of worries about losing service, of carrying storage between computers, and of gross financial and electrical waste through duplication of computational effort — but virtually everyone is still subject to all three of these problems, whether or not they maintain a cloud subscription.
Probably the cloud’s worst failure is the continuing, mass-scale existence of idle computing power. In 2015, global computing power was estimated to be between about 1020 and 1021 FLOPS — an astonishing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputer. How much of that is actually being used is another matter altogether.
Where the cloud was supposed to consolidate our computing needs behind fewer computers and help eliminate redundant purchasing, instead it has led to hundreds of thousands of servers and powerful personal computers sitting largely idle while a cluster of largely identical, corporate-owned machines do exactly the same operations they could have done themselves. Commands bound for one particular cloud-based computing center might pass a thousand kilometers’-worth of perfectly capable, idle computers in order to reach it.
Users can’t simply get rid of their unnecessary devices, however, since the restrictions on use of corporate-owned machines leave use holes that still require owned hardware. Even the recent advent of “fog” and “edge” computing can’t fix a system of organization that’s fundamentally flawed, though the focus on shortening unnecessarily long trip times for data can be helpful in the near term. They still result in much the same amount of redundancy in computing power, and the centralized hosting structure still puts stability at risk. The inherent problem is one of accurate, dependable coordination — but now we have access to technologies that could provide that trusted coordination.
Blockchain technology has all the abilities needed to start addressing this problem, acting as a platform on which users can coordinate with one another directly, rather than through a trusted third party. Acting as a cryptographically secured third party, the blockchain can finally allow users to work together to make use of the idle computing power they’ve always, collectively, owned. In so doing, they will also greatly increase the stability of their personal and business services through decentralization and strong encryption.
One upstart company has a plan to unlock this potential. Subutai, a Delaware-based startup, lets both private and business users “sell” their idle computing time for the Subutai blockchain’s “GoodWill” crypto-tokens. These tokens can later be redeemed to buy equivalent computing time from any users with idle machines at that time. In essence, this process turns the Subutai blockchain and its token economy into a battery for computing power — charge it up with GoodWill during your off hours, and discharge it later to recoup that power when it’s actually needed.
Indicative of the culture of the blockchain space, and the general level of frustration with cloud tech, the Subutai project is incredibly ambitious. It incorporates an optional, proprietary hardware component called the Subutai Blockchain Router that can enhance the efficiency of an ad-hoc Subutai cloud, while automatically mining the blockchain’s associated cryptocurrency, all for a miniscule 18W power draw. It helps to close the loop between users and computing power, creating significantly more value through crypto-mining than it uses in electricity, and letting user-created clouds start to pay for themselves.
These are the sorts of projects that are possible via the blockchain. It will be the small, blockchain-based startup challengers who push the cloud space forward, since the established companies, with the greatest ability to affect change, are also the companies with the greatest incentive to preserve the status quo. With the blockchain in hand, newer entrants are beginning to truly dismantle that status quo, and speed up the future of computing without actually adding any new computers.
With this type of potential on the horizon, existing cloud vendors should be scrambling to innovate, decentralize, and prepare for the coming existential challenge to their business model. Instead, they’re doubling down on the same approaches that created the current level of dissatisfaction. Thanks to the blockchain, there are plenty of challengers poised to take their place.
Images via Pixabay, Subutai, Amazon
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