The Internet is an amazing thing. There’s am almost endless amount of praise one could lavish upon it. But that very fact is also among the single most amazing things about the Internet. It hold so much promise for people. And in an almost endless amount of different directions. But of these, few has caught people’s attention more than the idea of the cloud.

When good service turns out to actually be bad

However, the allure of cloud based computing has touched people in an unexpected way. More and more people are discovering that their UT service provider isn’t quite what they thought it was. And it’s becoming increasingly more common as people start to test the limits of what they’ve been offered.

Somewhat interestingly, a lot of this is only becoming apparent thanks to the widespread availability of single board computers. These inexpensive devices are almost at a level of disposable computing. And having spare computers around means people are testing out ideas which they might never have give a try before.

Setting up home servers

One might better understand the limitations of a UT provider by considering the possibilities of cloud based computing. One very popular way of using it is file synchronization. Basically, one sets up a central server. Clients on various other devices then upload files to that central servers. Some form of hash for the files verifies the overall integrity of uploads and downloads.

One of the nice things about this technique is that cloud solutions offer low cost alternatives to more expensive services. The software is fairly easy to set up. And in theory at least the hardware is relatively simple as well. There’s only one big issue. And that’s the actual service providers. There’s a few things to watch out for when testing cloud services in this way. Each of which shows that the issue is probably the UT provider rather than one’s hardware or software setup.

Red flags for a provider

One of the single biggest red flags in the above example is failed uploads. Most providers know that most people notice download issues fairly easily. As such, they tend to skimp on upload speed and latency to preserve a larger pipeline.

This isn’t always easy to notice with a web browser. But it’s quickly apparent when working with Cloud Based Computing. There’s two easy to notice problems which might pop up in regards to upload issues. The MD5 of an uploaded file might end up consistently at odds with the correct value. If this happens with downloads than that’s a whole other but equally significant red flag.

The other issue is when every connection for the upload seems to take too long. And again, this might end up mirrored with downloads as well. Either way, it’s a rather significant red flag.

Final thoughts

Finally, we’ll return to the idea of lower cost single board computers. But this extends to a lot of DIY projects as well. These offer a good chance to test cloud services with no ISP involved at all.

Simply set up all the software and hardware with these low cost components. And then use an internal intranet instead of the Internet. This can help further narrow down potential red flags with the service itself.