Phil Windley on understanding the architecture of Personal Clouds

Just under the radar, there’s been a lot of activity in the ProjectVRM space of late.  Various clusters of work are underway in the VRM space, including identity research and personal data store development.  On the latter, Phil Windley has an excellent post explaining the framework in which personal clouds should operate by referencing the tried, trusted and true technologies around the IMAP protocol:

In short, email was designed with the architecture of the Internet in mind. Email is decentralized and protocol-mediated. Email is open—not necessarily open-source—but open in that anyone can build clients and servers that speak IMAP and SMTP. As a result, email maximizes freedom and control for the user and minimizes the chance of disruption. The features and benefits that email provides are exactly the same as those we want for personal clouds. Designed right, any application built on a personal cloud would provide similar functionality.

Web 2.0 has given us a model that is exactly the opposite of email. The model encourages user data to be stored in separate silos. You cannot easily migrate from one service provider to another. And when a service provider goes away, you are abandoned and marooned. You are not in control. Of course, it doesn’t help that this is all in the service provider’s best interest. They make money from the fact that the predominant model for building online applications leaves their users powerless.

via IMAP as the Proto Personal Cloud.

There’s lots of activity underway in this space.  I’ll have my own thoughts in several subsequent posts.