Subterranean Computing

Cloud computing continues to receive significant industry buzz and endorsements from many industry luminaries:

  • Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media calls cloud computing “the platform for all computing.”
  • Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod says “there can be only one—and that one is cloud computing.”  
  • Marc Benioff of refers to companies in the “anti-cloud crowd” as “innovationless.”
  • Lando Calrissian of Cloud City calls anyone not using cloud computing a “slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler.”

Therefore, I was happy to hear a cogent alternative viewpoint from a member of the “anti-cloud crowd” when I recently interviewed Sidd Finch, the Founder and President of the New York based startup company Kremvax, which recently secured another $4.1 billion in venture capital to pursue an intriguing alternative to cloud computing called Subterranean Computing.


The Truth about Cloud Computing

Mr. Finch began the interview by discussing some of the common criticisms of cloud computing, which include issues such as data privacy, data protection, and data security.  However, I was most intrigued by the new research Mr. Finch cited from Professor Nat Tate of the College of Nephology at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople.

According to Professor Tate, here is the truth about cloud computing:

  • Cloud computing's viability depends greatly on the type of cloud, not public or private, but rather cirrus, stratus, or cumulus.
  • Cirrus clouds are not good for data privacy concerns because they tend to be wispy and therefore completely transparent.
  • Stratus clouds are not good for data protection concerns because “data drizzling” occurs frequently and without warning. 
  • Cumulus clouds are not good for data security concerns because “fair weather clouds” disperse at the first sign of trouble. 


The Underlying Premise of Subterranean Computing

Later in the interview, Mr. Finch described the underlying premise of subterranean computing:

“Instead of beaming your data up into the cloud, bury your data down underground.”  

According to Mr. Finch, here are the basic value propositions of subterranean computing:

  • Subterranean computing's viability is limited only to your imagination (but real money is required, and preferably cash).
  • Data privacy is not a concern because your data gets buried in its own completely (not virtually) private hole in the ground.
  • Data protection is not a concern because once it is buried, your data will never be used again for any purpose whatsoever.
  • Data security is not a concern, but for an additional fee, we bury your data where nobody will ever find it (we know a guy).


Brown is the new Green

Environmentally sustainable computing (i.e., “Green IT”) is another buzzworthy industry trend these days.  Reduce your carbon footprint, utilize electricity more efficiently, evaluate alternative power sources, and leverage recyclable materials. 

All great ideas.  But according to Mr. Finch, subterranean computing takes it to the next level by running entirely on geothermal power, a sustainable and renewable energy source, as well as converting your databases into Composting Data Stores (CDS).

In subterranean computing, your data is buried deep underground, where CDS can draw the very minimal amount of power it requires directly from the heat emanating from the Earth's core.  The CDS biodegradable data format (BDF) also minimizes your data storage requirements by automatically composting old data, which creates the raw material used to store your new data.

In the words of Kremvax customer and award-eligible environmentalist Isaac Bickerstaff: “brown is the new green.” 

Bickerstaff is the Lord Mayor of the English village of Spiggot, which has “gone subterranean” with its computing infrastructure.



So which new industry trend will your organization be implementing this year: cloud computing or subterranean computing? 

Well, before you make your final decision, please be advised that Industry Analyst Lirpa Sloof has recently reported rumors are circulating that Larry Ellison of Oracle is planning on announcing the first Cloud-Subterranean hybrid computing platform at the Oracle OpenWorld 2010 conference, which is also rumored to be changing its venue from San Francisco to Spiggot.

But whenever you're evaluating new technology, remember the wise words from Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan:

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”