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Author Topic: Return of the mainframe and dumb terminal?  (Read 1015 times)

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Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Return of the mainframe and dumb terminal?
« on: December 15, 2010, 10:28:34 PM »

I find it somewhat humorous that today's latest, cutting edge ideas are largely leading us back to where computer networks began, that is, a central server or servers and inter-networked 'dumb' terminals. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a terrible idea really at all. So many programs I now use are either web applications or easily downloaded, or re-downloaded. I can with relative ease, wipe my hard drive clean and be back up and running in short order, with little trouble. This is a good thing. And frankly, I don't store very much on my hard drive of importance.

I'm not looking for a discussion really of how Google may or may not be this nefarious Big Brother lying in wait. They are hardly the only cloud service out there, even if they are a big player in the venue.

Looking more for a general discussion how this cloud service set up hearkens back to the mainframes and dumb terminals.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Return of the mainframe and dumb terminal?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 12:23:55 AM »
I've been hoping to see a sort of 'open source cloud' get put together. A lot of resources on Elliquiy's servers aren't being used, and not much stops it from being about to serve ten thousand people or so (beyond needing a ram upgrade). A few these machines stored across the country and in places like Auckland and the Netherlands and Sweden and I could have a fairly solid adult-friendly cloud operation of my own. But that's more software than one person can develop.

So rather than open source to some faceless company who won't even tell you what countries they will store your data in, you run the 'cloud' in-house or hire someone you know. Want a place you know is adult friendly? You already have the address >_>

I have given some thought to setting up nfs on one of the lower activity servers and basically using it as my 'hard drives', or at least an active rsync setup. All of the data, on all of my disks, for all time, amounts to a twentieth of my total monthly bandwidth allotment (20 terabytes). Can use more of it >_>

The goal of cloud clusters is exactly the same as a mainframe - high throughput and high availability. Not just in terms of uptime, but - for example - container data centers make it really easy to move them when the environment becomes unsuitable - physically or politically. That's not quite so true with mainframes.

We'll still see desktop workstations for a long time, but anything not requiring low latency is probably going to move into the web in one fashion or another.

Offline BobCon

Re: Return of the mainframe and dumb terminal?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 02:05:12 AM »
It's all good if these thing come around as everybody has it but the issue is Cloud to Terminal connectivity take for instance me I have dial-up where I live and no company offers Wireline Broadband not to mention, Satellite, and Cell Modems are way to expensive so every thing we need has to be stored locally to keep wait time down.

And could the providers garuntee that say if in a pinch moment I need something that I would be able to retrieve it in a timely manner? Thus is the issue with the cloud and steam but I digress.

I think if locally you had one server and multiple thin clients you could have a relatively nice setup since you could sign in to the server any where on the network and have your stuff, it is a really ingenious and cool idea and top that off with the miniaturization and networking advancements in the past 15 years and you have a size efficient setup.

Offline Drax

Re: Return of the mainframe and dumb terminal?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2011, 07:44:02 AM »
Everything is cyclical in my opinion, certainly the "cloud" now hearkens back to the good ol mainframe days,  however now one has pad devices and phones that are far more powerful than the desktop pc was.  Fixed computing, because of the bandwidth is more efficiently done from central processor where the scale gives one economies.  However personal computing which used to be the desktop is now the mobile phone and pad device.  The question will be whether the wireless network technology can catch up and deliver shared service to the mobile devices.  There a massive beer in one hadn pub discussion over these theories/trends.

Offline Mercurial

Re: Return of the mainframe and dumb terminal?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 09:30:00 PM »
I have some issues with cloud computing generally, though it seems the way things are going. They are:

1. The digital divide. There are parts of the United States that don't have ready access to broadband. Add to that the developing world, where reliable network access at all is a fleeting thing, let alone a high-speed connection. Computing power at this point for "Everyday" tasks is dirt cheap - network infrastructure is expensive.

"We're moving to the Cloud" reads to me a lot like "The poor need not apply".

2. The Law. Our legal system just isn't up to snuff for cutting edge tech - its all rooted in false analogies. There's no real way to handle what happens if say, your data is sitting on the same disk as an organized criminal organization's data. It gets seized...what happens? What's covered under a search warrant for something stored "in the Cloud".

3. Ownership. Digital media has already done a number on the idea that you own something you buy - and I think Cloud Computing has the potential to extend that. Not only are you now only renting content, you're also renting resources. I'd rather we not take more steps in that direction.

Says the man with an SSH terminal up as we speak ;)

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Return of the mainframe and dumb terminal?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 09:45:21 PM »
I break out in hives when I hear 'Cloud computing is the cure to all our ills'. I have several friends in the IT field who have gotten pink slips because management didn't understand what they were getting into and decided it would be a great way to 'cull out the useless IT guys' since they don't directly contribute to the bottom line