May 08, 2012
Portability of data is a primary advantage of cloud computing. It allows providers to store and distribute information generated from almost any location. However, this advantage has also proven itself as an Achilles heel to the industry. Conflicting domestic and international data privacy laws have created a challenging climate for US providers.
A primary cause for concern is a provision in the Patriot Act. The post 9/11 legislation makes any data held by a US company susceptible to unwarranted search and seizure. This provision also applies to data held outside US borders and supersedes existing US/EU safe harbor laws.
The situation has become difficult for US-based cloud providers as the law has prospective clients concerned about the privacy of their data. An article in ReadWrite Cloud points to sections of the , which describe international governments skittish of US cloud services. Australia's government has gone so far as to openly dissuade public and private entities from choosing US providers.
Closer to home, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Nova Scotia have mandated that personal information held in custody of the public body may only be stored and accessed in Canada. This includes schools, universities, hospitals, government utilities and public agencies.
In an attempt to allay fears driven by US legislation, Colorado-based Standing Cloud that it had become compliant with EU data privacy law. The company noted that all information and applications in their EU datacenters would be backed up and restored locally.
Although Standing Cloud's efforts are notable, Microsoft believes all data held by a US company is susceptible to warrantless search and seizure. The company has felt the effects of the Patriot Act, as a UK defense company dropped their plans of migrating to Office 365 over concerns from their legal department.
The deal fell apart when Microsoft was unable to adhere to data protection guidelines. Gordon Frazer, Microsoft UK Managing Director, was asked if the company could guarantee that data stored in Europe would not leave the continent. He responded, "Microsoft cannot provide those guarantees. Neither can any other company."
US cloud providers are feeling the effects of a legislative priority conflict. Although spurring domestic business is important, lawmakers will more than likely give national security more precedence. In the short term, the conflict may result in loss of market share to international cloud providers. Over time, though, members of congress could look to wind down some of the Patriot Act's more drastic provisions.
Frank Ding, engineering analysis & technical computing manager at Simpson Strong-Tie, discussed the advantages of utilizing the cloud for occasional scientific computing, identified the obstacles to doing so, and proposed workarounds to some of those obstacles.
The private industry least likely to adopt public cloud services for data storage are financial institutions. Holding the most sensitive and heavily-regulated of data types, personal financial information, banks and similar institutions are mostly moving towards private cloud services – and doing so at great cost.
In this week's hand-picked assortment, researchers explore the path to more energy-efficient cloud datacenters, investigate new frameworks and runtime environments that are compatible with Windows Azure, and design a uniﬁed programming model for diverse data-intensive cloud computing paradigms.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.