Extra Fluffiness is coming to games dev, without a single kitty pic!

We are all going to have to learn and live with the cloud. A word that already has a million different connotations and usages before we even entered the mix, type cloud into Google and endless amounts of tech blogs and info on the the subject will pop up.

The first use of the word ‘cloud’ in IT, is the original hardware based one, making normal server a little bit more fluffy.

At the heart of the idea of the cloud, is that a server can stop being a concrete fixed thing and instead become some nebulous slightly undefined thing on the internet, with no hard edges and the internals obscured from the outside world.

You no longer have a file server, consisting of a big chunky server with a fixed name and IP filled with disks and now have a storage cloud with a name and IP that’s made from N virtual servers with lots of disk or a SAN.
Of course many cynical old IT and techies will point out that the old fashioned file server were actually usually made of N servers, so in fact whats the difference and isn’t this just a whole load of buzz word renaming, to sell some nice new emperors clothes?

And those cynics are to a certain extent right! (watch the hate mail come in from all the new cloud vendors ;) ) but they are also wrong, there is something new here as well (phew letter bombs won’t be posted to me!), whats new is the fluffiness (hence the title).

Take the storage cloud example, to the users and applications it presents a simple storage API and that’s it. All the nuts and bolts are hidden, if I need to stripe across extra disks, or even servers, the users never know. If I need to move all the data onto new servers, the users never know. They see and interact the edge of the cloud and what lies within is opaque.

That’s important as it allows the cloud to expand and contract, change and update without requiring the clients to be any the wiser. Which means it can now start to be something permanent, something you can add to your games and not have to worry about how your data is stored.

Okay i’ll write more about the cloud in future, but to increase the fluffiness quotient here’s a kitty picture!