It’s not “the cloud” it’s “the phog”

I am so very tired of hearing about “the cloud”. Over lunch the other day a co-worker decided we should just call it the phog instead since the phog does a better job of describing exactly what is meant by the cloud.

Why is phog a better description? The phog has no defined shape, you can’t see clearly in it, its different everywhere you go, and once your in the middle of it you can’t find your way out (due to marketing fluf).

You cant have escaped all of the cloud stories in the past year or so. The one that just sent me over the edge was a press release about Vmware buying SpringSource. It is basically Vmwares approach to supplant Xen as the major phog platform. I’m not sure exactly what rubbed me wrong and sent me off into this tirade. Its very possible that I just don’t like Vmware and the first article I read used the more popular term for phog putting me in this tizzy. It’s also possible that I was already on edge about Vmware after my recent discussions with one of their sales people.

For a bit of background Vmwares sales goons are spreading the F.U.D. hard core. One sales goon recently told me “Xen is dead in the water”, “No one is using Xen”, “With all of Citrix’s advertising about Hyper-V  they don’t seem commited to the Xenserver product”. That along with “Everyone is going to KVM”, and some other slams about Xen not having dom0 support in mainline. Of course its fine that I don’t even have the option of running the Vmware hypervisor on the distribution of my choice, and no mention of the fact that dom0 support being mainline really has nothing to do with a Citrix products future. It’s not just a sales guy, I saw a similar slide against Citrix for their work with Hyper-V in a Vmware pdf (See bottom right corner). Anyway, on with the original rant.

As I was saying I was already on edge, and one more phog article shows up. What is the phog? Really? Its hosted applications, no more. Maybe a more programmatic way to define what services you would like and when you would like them available, but its nothing more than paying someone else to host your application servers.

This brings me to another point, and another thing that I wish developers would learn from system administrators (see my comment on Matt Simmons blog for context). Many of my developer friends think its perfectly fine to host everything on someone else’s equipment out in the phog. I feel it is one of my responsibilities to keep data safe. How can you keep data safe when its all out floating around in the phog. I have nothing against scaling out to the phog especially for high volume times but I still think that your core infrastructure should be managed on your own equipment where you can walk up to it and touch it if you want (even if its in someone else’s data-center).

I even had a conversation with a new co-worker recently who thinks everything, your data, downloaded content, desktop etc … will all move to the phog eventually. Ewwwww I can’t fathom letting my data slip that far from my hands.

Do you really think the phog will take off long term? What do you think about most of my developers friends points of view that putting _everything_ in the phog is acceptable or even a good idea?


  • Hey, thanks for the mention and the link.

    The phog is nothing more than cluster-meets-virtualization. It’s a bunch of computers hooked up together in a render farm, except the farm is rendering more computers.

    Great. When I’ve got 10,000 computers with nothing better to do, sign me up. Or when I’ve got bandwidth that I can use to backup all of my machines across a WAN, I’ll think about it. But until either of those things happen, I’ve got some actual machines to worry about.

    I appreciate the technology, and it may be revolutionary, but not for everyone.

  • 🙂
    I don’t even think it’s revolutionary. It really is just the same old thing. What is different is the marking worked and now everyone is in love. So many people seem so eager to have no more hardware in house and basically just rent space on a bunch of managed machines.

  • The phog-love is certainly at a higher level than it deserves, but it’s just an evolutionary step on from having managed machines. Remote, managed machines have been around for a long time and are useful for a lot of applications, but I think it will be a long while before remote machines of any kind (managed, phog, virtualized or real) have enough bandwidth that they can supplant local machines for fileserving and so on.

    The basic sums of bandwidth costs plus machine rental costs will likely stay higher than in-house hosting for a lot of services far into the future. If the costs do manage to become low enough whilst also having enough bandwidth for the applications you want to host then a lot of people will ignore the privacy aspects and move to hosted/phog services…

  • Dusty Wilson Ubuntu Unknow wrote:

    “I even had a conversation with a new co-worker recently who thinks everything, your data, downloaded content, desktop etc … will all move to the phog eventually. Ewwwww I can’t fathom letting my data slip that far from my hands.”

    Your data will be where you put it. If you want it on an internal box, put it there instead of out on the wild web.

    I’m a control freak, so it doesn’t make sense to me to put all of my important stuff out there like that. But then again, not having to run every little bit of your infrastructure will save you time and effort. I don’t think anyone should blindly go down that path. It’s a balancing act. For some people (like me), the balance is to just hold the data (and the responsibility) themselves.

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