Cloud Hazards

I just completed an essay on how the television infrastructure is marching inevitably into the cloud. 1 I believe this is so, but the end result may not be as ideal as what’s envisioned.

Storage clearly is leading the migration. Distribution-related operations are in the process of being moved, particularly those functions that aren’t required 100 percent of the time.

“Are you using a chroma key at midnight?” Al Kovalick asked at the 2012 SMPTE Tech Conference in Hollywood. “Take an inventory and say, ‘what percentage of the time am I using this thing?’ Perhaps 35 percent of the time— you could have 65 percent savings.”

Kovalick is a cloud evangelist and elucidative TV Technology contributor. He said that Cisco predicts that 51 percent of all business workloads will be processed in the cloud by next year.

Enterprise-level operations may have more protection in the cloud than the hoi polloi, but I believe there are object lessons on the consumer side worth noting in the great virtual hejira. And so I says to my friend, Karl:

“I had maybe six or seven years worth of digital photo albums on Google’s Picasa that could be secured so that only invitees could see them. Then recently, without warning, Google tied Picasa access to Google+, under the condition that people join under their real name. Whomever controls the cloud has the power to hold content hostage.”

So Karl says, “I believe it important to distinguish between ‘private clouds.’ …I know of no large-scale media organization that considers the public/hybrid model for anything other than the deepest, long-term archiving of data, as a tertiary backup, for example.”

That could be true for the time being, but what about as-needed operations? How much vulnerability do the various iterations of cloud-based software-as-a-service operations introduce?

And does anyone know how I can get my digital photo albums back?

1 See “TV Everywhere, Why Aereo Wins the PR War, and the IP Singularity,”