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Old 08-30-2012, 01:14 PM   #1
punchy71
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Why have seperate Server, Desktop and Cloud systems?


Kind of conceptual question here. Why not just do everyday general computing on a server instead of a seperate, dedicated desktop system? Since "cloud computing is the way of the future" and employs servers instead of desktop systems, why not just have server systems only in the future and lets just forget about seperate desktop systems altogether? And just let desktop hardware and software go into the ash-heap, dust-bin of history? What has prevented us from just doing general, everyday computing tasks on servers until now? Instead of everybody having a home or pesonal computer, just have a "home" or "personal servers"? Why did we have to have desktops to begin with?

Thank you
 
Old 08-30-2012, 01:18 PM   #2
guyonearth
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Your question doesn't make much sense in the context you ask it. Most people own their computers, and want them under their control. Who would own these servers you talk about? Where would they be? How would they be paid for? Who would be liable for security breaches? We have desktops because computers were originally sold as discrete appliances at a time when there was no over-arching network like the Internet to connect on. Now that it's here, there are still huge issues with connectivity, bandwidth, cost, security, etc., that are not easy to solve in a way that would suit all potential users.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
frieza
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to clarify, the only difference between a 'desktop' and a 'server' is the software running on the computer, yes there are purpose built computers that are built as servers and most 'desktop' units are also purpose built as such, but one could function as the other based on the software installed on them

usually professional grade servers are just built into a different case style (rack mountable), have a more powerful processor (or multiple processors), more ram and hard drive space, but less video card

desktop units have more video card and often less processor, ram and hard drive space

the 'cloud' is just a 'server farm' on the Internet that stores files, and often applications (usually accessed via a web browser), thus to access 'the cloud' you still need a separate dedicated 'desktop' system and an internet connection to access 'the cloud', difference being the software runs on the 'cloud' servers rather than on your desktop.

Last edited by frieza; 08-30-2012 at 01:37 PM.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 09:09 PM   #4
punchy71
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I uderstand a little better now. I did a little research today and learned that there are both public and private clouds (server farms). I'm assuming a public cloud is for business's, corporations, commerical enterpises and entities (the military industrial complex so to speak), and I'm assuming a private cloud could be owned by an individual such as you and me. But why would a person want to have their own personal "cloud"? Could they have one in their own home if they wanted to, and if so, why, what would be the point?
 
Old 08-30-2012, 09:23 PM   #5
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punchy71 View Post
But why would a person want to have their own personal "cloud"? Could they have one in their own home if they wanted to, and if so, why, what would be the point?
That doesn't really make sense. "Cloud" is just a term (a stupid one in my honest opinion) for a remote server who's location is transparent to the user. If the server is in the user's home, it's not in the "cloud" anymore, it's just a local server.

Cloud is just a stupid term meaning a remote server or collection of servers. There is no difference between a cloud server vs a regular server, it's all in how they're accessed and by whom.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 08-30-2012 at 09:25 PM.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 09:51 PM   #6
hydraMax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punchy71 View Post
I uderstand a little better now. I did a little research today and learned that there are both public and private clouds (server farms). I'm assuming a public cloud is for business's, corporations, commerical enterpises and entities (the military industrial complex so to speak), and I'm assuming a private cloud could be owned by an individual such as you and me. But why would a person want to have their own personal "cloud"? Could they have one in their own home if they wanted to, and if so, why, what would be the point?
This probably highlights the ambiguity of the term "cloud", but I can understand how most geek/nerd types would enjoy having a mini cluster with lots of resources to share out to various computers and applications. Various ideas (some simpler than others):

* Network attached storage: A large amount of redundant storage in one place, which can be dynamically allocated as network shares or repositories.

* TFTP boot (and such like): Instead of doing a custom install on each new piece of hardware you bring into your home, just hook it up to the network, and in a few seconds it loads up an operating system and all your favorite apps.

* Virtualization: You want to try out the latest distro -- instead of messing up your primary PC, or booting into a Live CD, just throw it onto a vm on your cluster. And there are a lot of services (Web, tor, etc.) that you might not want to run on your Desktop for security reasons. (Yes, people do run Web sites out of their home.)

* Parallel computing: Curious how that render would turn out with 46 trillion triangles, the highest shading, and full reflectivity? Give it to your cluster instead of bogging down your desktop for the next three weeks. Of course, this implies an interest in programming. With some programming languages, parallel programming is getting a lot more natural than it used to be. For example, Haskell's -threaded flag on the GHC compiler allows you to get a certain level of multi-threaded execution without even trying.

Unfortunately I'm rather poor at the moment and can't afford the hardware or electricity, but otherwise I'd definitely love to have my own cluster in the basement.

Last edited by hydraMax; 08-30-2012 at 09:53 PM.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 10:32 PM   #7
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[RANT MODE ON]

"Cloud" is term beloved of marketers because it's so nebulous they can use it to sell you any old kind of pig in a fancy poke.

When a marketer tries to sell me "cloud," I want to see the pig, not just the fancy poke.

Why should I store my personal data on somebody else's servers just because I can?

Unless it actually fills a need that can be filled efficiently in no other way (as, for example, using Google docs for collaboration among persons far apart or using an internet service for off-site backup of essential business information instead of shipping tapes to a warehouse every night), it's a bunch of smoke and mirrors designed to extract money from the unwary.

Technology is a wonderful thing; when it makes stuff better faster smarter, use it. Just because it's there is not a reason to use it unless it's also better faster smarter.

[RANT MODE OFF]

Sorry. Couldn't help myself.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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To cloud the discussion further (sorry, I love a good pun) I have my own "personal cloud" where the "server' is just software (owncloud, apache, webDAV, etc) running on my Slackware desktop, that machine is soon to be cannibalized for parts, and will be left with just a low-powered video card, it's processer, RAM and hard drives. It will no longer have it's own monitor, mouse, or keyboard and then will lead it's new life as a full time "server" meaning it's only real functions will be to house all of my personal and work related documents and serve them to my iPhone, laptop, and work station in the office. The point of this is to give me 100% control of my own data (including my own backup routines) where ever I happen to need it. It's all the cloud I need and I won't be beholden to any outside entity with regards to privacy, pricing, or data integrity. Of course this puts the responsibility of my data squarely on my own shoulders.

At work we used a cloud storage service where almost all of our data was wiped out by one user's mistake, and then it took 2 weeks to retrieve all that data using their tools. Restoring years of data over the WAN even with a fast broadband connection was slow. It would have taken hours had they been using their own machine, syncing over the LAN from local backups.

Also never underestimate network failures. If all of your applications live on a remote server, how much work will you get done when you can't access that network? Working for an ISP we had huge blocks of the internet fail when our upstream provider had a switch going bad that took them 3 days to find. Even a traffic accident such as a drunk driver hitting a fiber node can bring down a small town's CATV or phone system and I've seen it happen more than once. The "cloud" has a number of advantages, but it is far from being a magic bullet, or even a good idea in lots of circumstances.

Last edited by damgar; 08-30-2012 at 10:52 PM.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 11:03 PM   #9
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punchy71 View Post
Kind of conceptual question here. Why not just do everyday general computing on a server instead of a seperate, dedicated desktop system? Since "cloud computing is the way of the future" and employs servers instead of desktop systems, why not just have server systems only in the future and lets just forget about seperate desktop systems altogether?
Cloud, 'the way of the future' is hype. In some ways, it might be true, in other ways, its going back to the old ternimal/server setups of the past.

Even if you believe in the cloud, you still need some way to access it. If you are going to have a monitor/display of some kind, video output, some local RAM, and a network connection to the server (typical terminal setup). Its not going to cost much more to have local storage and more RAM as well....

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
Why should I store my personal data on somebody else's servers just because I can?
Exactly, and to go further, why would you expose your data to controls and possible examination by not only the hosting company, but also by foreign governements?

Right now, with my data on my HDDs in my house, if someone wanted to see my data they need a search warrant from the australian federal or state police. If I have my data on a 'cloud' its possible that my data could be examined governments and entities outside australia, circumventing my legal rights.

Its also got issues with bandwidth, slow internet is bad for any cloud use. Right now I can get 50MB+/sec read/write speeds to my local HDD. I've got a good connection for where I am, but even then my speeds would be at best 3MB/sec read and less than 250kB/sec write....
 
Old 08-30-2012, 11:45 PM   #10
frieza
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if i'm not mistaken, the term 'cloud' gets it's name from the fact that on network diagrams, the internet is drawn as a cloud.
 
  


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