What is a Personal Cloud?
Session Topic: Attempt to reach some consensus what a personal cloud might be.
Convener: Johannes Ernst
Note-Taker(s): Johannes Ernst
Personal Clouds are to cloud computing what the Personal Computer was to (mainframe-based) computing at the time: in the mainframe world, a central group of people (the computer operators) would deliver the apps they choose, with the data they controlled, with their terms of service, to users who had to use whatever was given to them. The Personal Computer with personal productivity apps such as spreadsheets was the counter-trend, which put all aspects of computing in the hands of the users, who could add and remove hardware, create, delete and modify data at will, run whatever apps they chose on whatever data they had.
Personal cloud computing puts control back in the hands of the users, but this time in a cloud / networked environment.
There are three major parts of personal clouds:
- capabilities (aka apps)
- terms and governance
For the cloud to be personal, the owner of the personal cloud must be able:
- to choose and remove the apps they run on their personal cloud
- to control who does and does not get access to the data on the personal cloud.
- to process data created with one app with another in a similar way as files on a PC may be opened by apps from a different vendor (something not possible with SaaS today)
- to move the personal cloud from one host / infrastructure / hosting provider to another if needed (e.g. from an Amazon cloud server to a Rackspace one)
Cloud computing features such as replication, and high-availability features should be available. Backup must be available.
Contrast to what some people called "personal data centers" -- set of computing resources some people (usually techies) have control over at home or work. This wouldn't be cloud computing because in cloud computing, somebody else takes care of failing hard disks etc.
Personal clouds interact with each other as peers. So we don't believe that Dropbox etc. are personal clouds. They are just a service that might be used by somebody as one component of a personal cloud.
Personal clouds require persistent identifiers / identity that can be allocated and asserted in a decentralized manner.
May be difficult to communicate because many people do not understand the difference between data and apps.
It's a matter of control and portability.
Today mobile devices are tethered to service providers. This creates a dependency on service providers that is undesirable for personal clouds. Of course it is a reality that some technologies today are only available tethered, e.g. iPhones.
There was 90%+ agreement in the room that 5 or 10 years from now, most people will have personal clouds.