Gartner has recenty predicted that by 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today. CIOs will increasingly leverage a multitude of cloud computing providers across the entire IT stack to enable a huge variety of use cases and meet the requirements of their business unit peers. Indeed, the tides are shifting toward a “cloud-first” or even “cloud-only” policy... 

Marc Wilczek

Cloud Computing Opinions: Canada and Cost-Free Heating

Cloud Computing Opinions: Canada and Cost-Free Heating

One piquant news story on my mind, during this year’s post-Thanksgiving lull, focuses on naive Canadians in business. More specifically, it considers the idea of Canuck companies who employ cloud computing services without knowing it. Thanks to CBC News for the feature. In my mind, and in today’s current technologically savvy age, an admission of unwitting cloud use is tantamount to the unbelievably ignorant mothers who bemoan their surprise infants on the hit reality show, “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.

Babies aren’t tumors, and the cloud isn’t a virus. Pregnancy and cloud computing, though mostly disparate topics, share one common grace note in my book. You know when something inside you, or your business, has taken life or new growth.

That only 29% of surveyed business leaders correctly acknowledge their cloud use is a disappointing figure. If anything, the raging debate about Internet privacy and security should have clued the other 71% into some form of cloud computing recognition.

The article ultimately proves that infants and the cloud are similar in yet another regard: eventually, they will pop out of you, forever changing your perspective on how to move forward.

Knock on wood for me, please. New York City weather remains unseasonably hospitable, feeling about 60 degrees today. How long this sky-borne pleasure will last, I don’t know. Regardless of the temperature, I’m glad my building’s finally cranked up the heat. Yet doing so means a higher energy bill than my usual fee, which could translate into fewer Yuletide presents for friends and family this year.

Enter cloud computing, yet again, to my potential money-saving rescue.

The New York Times has published an ingenious article that discusses how the computer data centers of various cloud-enabled companies could warm homes all over the globe.

We all know how computers can generate far too much heat. Some businesses invest thousands of dollars in cooling and ventilation schemes to keep their temperatures low.

But this new scheme holds that the excess heat can be used to greater effect in households that need it. The computers would occupy a space in a home, located anywhere in the globe. The heat these computers would naturally radiate will warm their surroundings, an action converting the servers into “data furnaces.” Cloud computing allows for the servers to be operated and accessed remotely, without bothering the homeowner.

This move could potentially lessen many a carbon footprint by a significant margin, “covering the homeowner’s electricity costs,” while saving everyone involved a wad or two of cash.

In my opinion: brilliant. In these chillier moments of the year, what the world needs now is heat, sweet heat. It literally is the only thing that there’s just too little of during winter. If cloud computing can facilitate the experience of warmth, I’d embrace my data furnace with my economically toasty arms.

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.