Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Personal Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is believed by many to be the future of the computing model.  Many people think that our programs and data will live on the internet, allowing them to be portable and universally compatible.   For businesses, the decision to use a cloud computing model is one of money, effectiveness, and security.  However, for individuals it's even more ambiguous which to use.  Current cloud based models are those like Google Docs, where your documents are hosted and edited online.

Many people aren't comfortable with this model for their personal data.  They'd rather be in control, and know that their data can't be accessed over the internet.  Furthermore, what about if your data holder collapsed, or suffered a temporary unavailability of service.  These things aren't good.

So this idea occurred to me.  Many homes already have routers in them, and there is a growing trend in people having networked storage available on their network, so that if you're on the local network, you can access the files.  Why not combine the two, place the storage inside the router, and allow it to be accessible via a password.  You could connect to the router by directly typing in the IP address (or via a URL, but that would require buying a domain name), and use a password to access our files.  Better yet, if you place a Google Docs type editor on it, you can edit the files w/o downloading them.  This would help assuage issues that many would have with some other organization holding their files.

But what if you locked your data behind a special URL, invisible to the public.  Then the main URL could be saved for webpage serving.  So if anyone accesses it, they will see something that represents you, as opposed to a login.  This would be a simple addition to the device, since it already has storage, you just store the necessary html in a file, and set it to load when the router is accessed.

So in conclusion we have a combination router/network storage/cloud storage/webpage server device.  It wouldn't be difficult to manufacture, it's just adding storage some extra processing power to a router, and adding the software to make it work.  It seems like a great idea to me.  I'd certainly buy one once it was financially feasible.