The Real Personal Cloud

A number of companies sell consumer products under the personal cloud moniker. They’re implemented using servers and software maintained by the companies themselves, architecturally similar to nearly every other service on the internet: The user registers an account with the company, and then logs in to access the features of the service.

The personal cloud could be much more. Where this leads, there can be no ads, no user tracking, no data harvesting, no warrantless surveillance, and no staggering data breaches. The experience could include all features we enjoy now, but with all of this terrible intrusiveness removed.

If the public cloud (the commercial cloud, eg AWS) is about reliability, accessibility, and scale, then the personal cloud should strive for these same goals, but implemented with extreme prejudice toward benefitting a self-hosting individual. If we create new implementations of existing services that uphold our interests, then we can stop sacrificing our data privacy for convenience.

We should all establish our own persistent presence on the internet that we alone control, and use it to connect and interact directly with each other.

That is, each person should run their own cloud services - their personal cloud.

This might seem like a lot to ask, and really it is for now, but we can work toward this goal and arrive there very soon.

The cost of hosting servers has dropped enormously. The data burden of the typical person’s services, including distribtion of authored content to their social group, is well below what even the cheapest servers can handle. Even smartphones have adequate resources to host and distribute content.

Low-order trusted multi-tenancy can achieve data redundancy, high availability, and strong data security.

This is the real personal cloud that will strive to create.