As the cloud hype continues into an exponential roar of a pre-launch countdown, you have to wonder how much of the excitement is catching outside of the IT microcosm. On one hand you have a relatively unproven business model, yet we’re looking at possibly the largest wave of hype ever to hit the IT industry. The average CIO today is driving hard for cloud, private, public, whatever it takes to get to the cloud, while the average IT architect is still trying to figure out what exactly we mean by cloud. Politicians have gotten on the magic carpet ride too.
A great example is Rueven Carlye, state representative of my old stomping grounds in Washington state, who is rallying against a new state data center project in Olympia, calling it ‘a 300 million dollar mistake’ in defense of lower costs via cloud providers. That’s a bold move for attacking an entire data center budget, where the state likely runs on 100’s of legacy applications and platforms, unlikely ever to be candidates for cloud computing. A more pragmatic push to cloud is afoot at the city of Los Angeles, with legislators gunning to shift desktop workload to Google applications.
So do we suddenly have tech-savvy legislators, or do we have a growing lobby influence from the cloud pioneers, Google and Amazon? I’d speculate that millions of lobbying effort per quarter is only the beginning.
But we IT pioneers pack up our wagon train and head into the cloud; do we have any laws defining ‘who owns the data’? As far as my research on the topic goes, the answer is no. You do have broad legislation in the European Union limiting private data movement out of country, but practically no laws outlining who owns your data when it goes into the cloud (or anywhere for that matter). One 3rd party cloud architect noted, ‘chain of custody is the only legal precedent protecting data ownership in the cloud’, and if you don’t have that, you don’t have much of a legal leg to stand on if you’re data is being uploaded into a 3rd party virtual infrastructure and ownership/control is called into question. Definitely reminds me of feudal Europe – those who own the land (infrastructure) have the power (over the data) in the emerging cloud market.