I’ve written more than a few negative pieces about so-called cloud computing and reader Ralph Roe chimes in with this.

Five Reasons I Don’t Like Cloud Computing
by Ralph Roe

John, yours is the first article that is dead on regarding huge problems with the concept of online apps. It is Microsoft and similar firms who would like to get financial control and extract huge monthly fees for their cash flow, neglect the wishes of pesky customers (like Bell Telephone used to and cable TV firms do today). They would not have to mess with any competition, either.

First, I worked in hi-tech for my entire career, and companies who were my vendors and customers, as well as the ones I was working for, went out of business or merged all the time. It is a very unstable business. Trust them? HA! For that reason alone, I would never even consider trusting my apps and data to an online firm. EVER.

I have had vendor companies where the IRS puts a padlock on the door without any warning to customers, and you cannot even get in to retrieve your property (e.g. fixtures).

Second, they would keep “upgrading” the apps even when I had data that relied on a prior version. I refuse to cede control on changes. I have some great apps that are outdated and simple to operate and I am through the learning curve.

Third, all too frequently, ISP’s are not available. Lightning, fiber cables hit by ditch diggers, or servers go down, etc. With an app on my desktop, I can keep productive. A few minutes ago, my cellphone could not place a call because “all circuits are busy”, good thing I am not using a laptop with wi-fi.

Fourth, it is in the papers all the time that some neglectful creep employee loses their laptop with social security numbers, credit card numbers, and how about passwords and accounts with online app providers? I take a lot of care with desktop and network security.

Fifth, it puts me back into my early years (pre-1983) in hi-tech when terminals connected to the mainframe were the only source of information and the IT guys acted as gatekeepers who sucked up to top management whims, and left the rest of us without timely data we needed to do our jobs. (Shudder).

  1. MacBandit says:

    I agree with the writer everything but I have a question. What does his cell phone receiving a busy tone have to do with a laptop with wifi?

  2. Nimby says:

    Well, put. For all those reasons and more, just say no.

    Oh, yeah: and as for Google and Microsoft asking us to store our medical records on line? I have only this to say. “Yeah, right.”

  3. WmDE says:

    I remember the predecessor of cloud computing, it was called time-share. All you needed was a terminal.

    As long as Google and Kodak remain in business my online files are probably safer than my home based files.

  4. Saper says:

    You cannot stop or stand in the way of progress
    Otherwise you will get mowed down by the moving vehicle
    Otherwise you can always get insurance
    You cannot stand in the way of change and progress

  5. mrhappy says:

    Amen, my good brother! I would NEVER store anything of importance in the cloud.

  6. Mark Derail says:

    Above rant is for the 5% (being generous) of the population that is computer literate.

    For everyone else, cloud computing is a must:
    – users constantly have viruses
    – users never backup
    – users don’t maintain their hardware
    – when a user does change his hardware, he mourns his “lost data”, ie, doesn’t know how to retrieve his bookmarks from his old computer.

    Google Mail / Yahoo Mail is a great cloud computing example.
    – cheap
    – reliable
    – idiot proof
    – local email apps kills desktop performance
    – reduces spam / virus emails

    If Google or Yahoo could buy Simply Accounting! and cloud that application, it would be a killer app.

    Simply Accounting has a built-in backup feature that “nags” the user, yet, very few backup their stuff to at least a usb key.
    Oh well.

    Java + Cappuccino + Sedna anyone? 🙂
    (ok, skip Sedna)

  7. Cursor_ says:

    I agree that people with little or no desire to learn about computers (the it just works crowd), that hosted computers would be a godsend.

    But to the companies that desire security for personal records, accounting and customer data, this is not a good option. They need to keep it on site to lock it down themselves.

    But few companies that are medium to smaller do just that. I know, that is my profession helping SOHO, Small and Medium sized businesses get right with tech. Its an uphill climb because they see the security, backups and maintenance as luxury not responsibility.

    If you REALLY want to kill the cloud, then tell them we will do this IF you insure the data from theft, scrambling that we can get to it at least 99% of the time. If you do not provide this, if my data and/or my identity is stolen; then you give me 100k or better.

    That alone will make it so expensive for them to do business they will cease this nonsense and allows us to keep the revolution. The PC revolution. We didn’t do this so we could go back to the mainframe and punch cards again.


  8. HMeyers says:

    Statistically, cloud computing is generally more manageable than the traditional way of using apps and storing data.

    Think of it as professionalizing and raising the bar of a chain of essential services while lowering the costs.

    The article, while well thought out is based on the myth of control.

    You never have control, only the illusion of control.

    Hard drive failure, a botched upgrade, theft and good old humanness are more likely disruptions to a business than most of the reasons listed.

    Not a business person alive is independent of some sort of supply chain. Differences of preference just depend on where one assigns the risk.

  9. tomdennis says:

    Having everything important somewhere else. Off on a distant cloud. You firing up your simple laptop and you are online at your home port/blog. You look in your favorites and you go to your word processor which is online somewhere off in the distance. We store photos online but are those photos safe? Do we have the originals on a CD or off in some distant cloud?
    I have a lot stored in both places but I do not have enough simple hard drives on shelves that I can pop into my laptop and view my history. Where is my closet of hard drives? Is it at home or out in a cloud? Some of us are neat and tidy some of us have to search under a pile of goods to find our lives. I am the latter. Do I trust the Internet enough to store my life in a cloud? They are mostly floating away and misty and moist.

  10. JJFCPA says:

    If you think cloud computing is a panacea then you’ve really got your head in the clouds, not your data.

    Cloud computing is just another way to lock you in to a vendor, and if you fall for that one, then you deserve what awaits you.

    Someone mentioned that this will protect their data because users don’t backup. I can guarantee you that you will have to agree to “their” terms and one of them will be that they are NOT responsible if your data is lost. You will STILL need to backup your data, and if you don’t, you’ll run the risk of something going wrong and losing it with no recourse.

    The biggest problem I see with cloud computing is access. In an age of ALWAYS available data, the internet just isn’t there yet, and probably won’t be for the near future. When they roll out nationwide wifi, I’ll consider putting my data in the cloud, but given the choice, I’ll still opt for desktop apps which run faster, are version specific, and always “on”.

  11. JimD says:

    How many people LOST THEIR PHOTOS when a couple of those photo “Vaults” went belly up ??? And if your think M$ will give any kind of “Service” without a “Drop dead, and don’t call us” “EULA”, think again and read your current M$ OS EULA !!! “Cloud Computing” is just a MASSIVE SHAFTING waiting to happen !!! DON’T GO THERE !!!

  12. Floyd says:

    I use Google mail (which some people use as a “cloud” application) just like I would use any other mail server. I download/upload my mail using POP/SMTP protocols, rather than storing my mail on a GMail server. Keeping my mail on my PC just feels a lot more secure than storing it on a Google server.

    The advantage of GMail is that you can send and receive your mail from anywhere with a WiFi connection or an Ethernet port. However I sure don’t want to leave my Email in the GMail “cloud” for any longer than I have to.

  13. srg says:


    In personal experience I can assure you that GoogleMail is surprisingly unreliable!

    Other than e-mail, no way would I ever want to use cloud computing! I like to have my apps and data with me in the machine. I’ll back it up how I want to.

  14. peterjhill says:

    This long pdf can give people more info on what cloud computing is and is not.

    using web services, like flickr or gmail is not what I would call cloud computing.

    If you want to spend capital on buying your own servers and internet transit and rack space and cooling and power.. go right ahead.

    If you have a great idea and want a way to deploy it fast and cheap… services like ec2 are worth considering.

  15. ran6110 says:

    Great read!

    Now, what I want from the cloud is storage and connectivity.

    I want my apps to run from the installed machine or a CD/DVD/USB or Flash Drive on any compatible computer I connect it to. No registry, no installation and ease of use!

    Save my data to a web based storage (take a peek at amazon’s S3) that I can access and give me control of who can and can’t access it.

    They’ve been trying to push cloud computing for a few years (ok, many years) and it won’t work until a reasonable connectivity speed is available to everyone! I still know people who have high speed at work but have to suffer with dialup at home (yup, Oregon)!

    We’ve got a bunch of greedy, lazy and lame executives, board members and managers who see cloud computing as a way to sit on their fat, lardy asses and make money (I didn’t say earn it).

    Finally, with all of the ISP’s looking to screw us with limiting download and upload amounts do you think you are going to transfer huge amounts of code and or data each day? Will your employer pay you back at a dollar or more for each gig you are over your limit?

    That last point is very important, look at how much you are charged to send SMS messages on your cell phone, especially if you go over your plans limit! This is for 140 bytes of text!!

    So you better be ready for the screwing your gonna get just so some executive or manager can make their bonus and send their girl/boy friend to sunny cancun in the winter!

  16. @#15:”Save my data to a web based storage (take a peek at amazon’s S3) that I can access and give me control of who can and can’t access it.”

    That is the worst aspect of cloud computing. You assume that the provider will be careful enough to control who can and can’t access the data? Even the security paranoid organizations get broken in (Banks, Pentagon,…). Service like Amazon S3? I’d bet that hackers are browsing it up and down. Also, the providers in this day and age have interest to snoop, for many that would be the main source of income from these setups (not that they’ll tell you).

  17. AC_in_mich says:

    #15 – and What happens like earlier this year on Feb 15th when S3 went down? (google search “s3 down”?

    I use gmail with the Gspace addon for firefox to transfer NON-VITAL information or encrypted files. I also rotate my local backups to more than one SD card (that I have found to be more reliable than USB thumb drives) – I don’t trust me or the Cloud!

    You won’t see Cloud taking off when you have areas like mine where “high-speed Internet” is 256Kb – yes, the world would be totally different if we had Teledesic, but we don’t! (and that would make a fascinating “What happened to… article for John). At 256Kb – streaming video is a gleam in your eye and trying to run online apps is mind numbingly frustrating.

    I have often preached that M$ would LOVE to have their OS “in the cloud” – You walk up to a box,hold out your wrist for it to read your implanted chip, and up boots the OS with your settings, info and apps all their. No viruses,no pirated software, your OS is always patched, and you can go anywhere and be on “your computer”. Of course, no privacy and no control and Walmart sells the boxes for $69.95 and I am out of a job repairing computers.


  18. supraman215 says:


    Your fifth point is the most valid one here!!


    Cloud Computing (horrible moniker BTW) = Dumb Terminal/Mainframe computing.


    PC based computing.

    Both have an equal number of pluses and minuses. That’s why things like this go in cycles.

    In the business world Cloud computing makes TOTAL sense. Why maintain so many PC’s with so many security vulnerabilities? Also lock down your control of data and software, and monitor your employees better, etc.

    In the personal world I think the way be do things now with your own apps on your own machine makes sense. I agree that companies like google are trying to lock you down to their software and storage. Security of your personal data is also a concern.

  19. deowll says:

    Privilaged data on line needs to be encripted.

    The web is a great way to share data.

    The schools are using cloud computing. Attendence, records of infractions and how they are handled, grades posted so that all stake holders can see what they are due whenever they have the time or the need.

    You still need to be able to work when the connection is down or the site is down. You don’t always get that.

    Most on line testing software I’ve experience with is a bug feast.

  20. MotaMan says:

    Cloud computing can be great! if you own all the infrastructure ie servers and connectivity.

    Yes EULAs can suck everything up.

  21. hhopper says:

    I don’t have a problem with cloud computing. They can set up as many programs on line as they want. I just won’t be using any of them.

    However, backing up data on the net can be handy. There are many free places that will give you HDD space. The odds are against losing your HDD and their HDD at the same time.

  22. MotaMan says:

    “You can have quite a lot of disk space on a NAS these days. You can also access that NAS remotely, so that cloud data back-up point is moot.”

    my point exactly

    Yes owning your own cloud is cool, that’s how one o of the biggest (maybe the biggest) does it… or at least is migrating most apps to. merger after merger web based apps have.

    Own your own cloud, back that cloud up to another cloud that you don’t own (at least for data)

  23. Robo_dev says:

    From an architecture standpoint, everybody is missing the point.

    If your home was a business and required a fully redundant client server application, the primary web application server would be snuggled in a safe spot under your basement stairs (assuming you have a basement, and assuming it has stairs).

    The workstations would host only a web browser, so they could be basically generic PCs or even terminals.

    Let the data backup and application updates happen during off-peak hours (4AM).

    You could still run your ‘google apps’, but the version would be the one you have on your own webserver, and the online version would be used in case of local server failure, or when traveling.

    Data privacy can be handled to a good extent with encryption, and you could choose not to have very sensitive subject to online backup.

    For those who are so afraid of having all your data online….it already is.

    The IRS, the credit card companies, the credit bureaus, your Bank, your insurance company, etc…..it’s all online already.

    The issue is trust.

    The way to earn trust to promote and enforce security standards, such as the PCI standards for credit card processing.


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