The cloud returns, with discussion questions

21 May

Yesterday at the Cornell University Library’s Career Development Week[1], Chris Miller and I delivered an updated version of the Crash Course in Cloud Computing presentation that we gave  at the Upstate New York Science Librarians Meeting last October. (Also updated were the supporting materials and my sardonic commentary.)

Beforehand, Chris and I were discussing how having more time for Q&A this go-round would probably lead to someone asking us if product X was an example of cloud computing, and the two of us disagreeing on the answer. Sure enough, it happened (ProQuest being the resource in question), and while we did not go ahead with our pre-arranged means of determining the correct response[3], it did lead to a pretty interesting discussion that I wanted to try to expand here.

So folks: is ProQuest an example of cloud computing? I said no, because its costs aren’t really dynamically scalable for the institutions who buy the licenses. Chris said it was, since it’s a resource that we could try to house on-site, but instead access remotely.

What do you think?

[1] Referred to hereafter as “CULCDW”. [2]
[2] In light of that acronym, I think I’ll just skip referring to it again. Great series of events, though.
[3] Arm-wrestling.

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4 Responses to “The cloud returns, with discussion questions”

  1. Nina May 21, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Jim, just curious: why ProQuest specifically? Versus any other database vendors, I mean… :)

    • Jim DelRosso May 21, 2010 at 11:30 am #

      Honestly, it could’ve been any of the database vendors; ProQuest was just the one that came up in the Q&A. :) So, there’s no need to confine your comments to ProQuest.

  2. Jenny Reiswig May 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    If this is cloud computing then everything online is cloud computing. Look at us, we’ve been in the cloud since we killed our last CD-ROM!

    • Jim DelRosso May 24, 2010 at 8:45 am #

      To some extent, Jenny, I think you’re right. But I as I consider it more I think that the movement of applications to the cloud is the major change that the term “cloud computing” calls out. Accessing licenses resources remotely isn’t new, nor is having some kind of web interface for email. But putting our own materials on servers that we only access remotely, or having entire organizations change over to web-only email systems in which all messages are stored on remote servers? Those tend to be seen as more recent developments (even if some folks have been doing this stuff for a while).

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