I finally get it – I think. There’s nobody better to learn from about cloud computing than Roy Tennant and Andrew Pace. At their session at CIL 2009 today they explained that cloud computing is a “style of computing in which dynamically scalable & often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Net” (thx Wikipedia), but really it means that someone else, somewhere, is running the servers and the operating software so you – or your library or organization – doesn’t have to. Phew!
Why would you want to do this? Seems obvious —- you don’t have to know how to install things, or keep the servers cool, or suffer all the other headaches caused by server hardward and software. Of course the downside is that you also lose some control over these operations. Oh well.Life is one long trade-off.
What was even more interesting was how WorldCat is using cloud computing to enable libraries to do some innovative things — like the fact that you can look for a book on your cell or pda and the search results will show you the nearest Borders with the book (I’m in the US remember), AND the nearest library with the book — and map the locations for you. Cool
Roy also talked about the WorldCat Hackathon – not a coughing contest, but rather where coders (I love that term) gather to develop new codes to keep pushing the boundaries of clouds……er…….I guess that wouldn’t be a boundary, would it? More of a wider wisp of cloud possibilities.