The Difference Between a Personal Cloud and a Personal Data Store

I’ve written  about personal clouds and personal data stores (PDS – also called personal data vaults or lockers) for several years now, but in a conversation with Craig Burton last week the distinction between the two snapped into sharp focus. See this illustration:

In short, if a personal cloud is a virtual personal computer in the cloud, then a PDS is its virtual file system. Note that this does NOT mean the PDS stores all its data in the cloud. In fact, one of the most salient features of a full-featured PDS is that it will provide controlled access and sharing of data stored in native data stores anywhere on the wired or wireless Web. These native data stores become a virtual part of the personal cloud by virtue of a secure semantic data sharing protocol like XDI.

So, while every personal cloud has a PDS, what makes it a personal cloud is “the rest of the story” — the virtual machine running on top of that PDS. This virtual machine, running a personal cloud OS, lets the user run his/her choice of apps that can access and share data via its PDS just like apps on your PC can access and share data via its file system.

Phil Windley just did a blog post detailing how the layers and components of a cloud OS work. And the premise of the Respect Network is that these apps — apps like the Connect.Me social business card that operate across a network of personal clouds — are what will drive large scale adoption of personal clouds (and the PDS underlying each one).


About Drummond Reed

Internet entrepreneur in identity, personal data, and governance frameworks
This entry was posted in Personal Cloud, Personal Data Ecosystem, Personal Data Store, Respect Network and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Difference Between a Personal Cloud and a Personal Data Store

  1. jimpasquale says:

    This is a logical approach and helps solidify some of the dynamics and concerns in BYOD with where corporate data will be required to reside, regardless of SOX compliance or Corporate Governance this all makes a lot of sense. A challenge for data interaction across APIs will be these kinds of controls between corporate data. A smart device running two distinct OSs for controls vis vi personal and corporate personas. The future does look quite bright! great piece.

    • Thanks Jim. I’ve recently heard the new acronym “BYOID” – Bring your own ID. It’s an open approach to federation, one that IMHO will be necessary for “data federation”, which is what personal clouds and PDS will enable in a true p2p network fashion (which, for personal data, I would argue is the only fashion that will work).

      • jimpasquale says:

        I too have heard this new extended TLA, in a recent article where the writer talked about showing up your first day of work, with… well basically nothing to offer accept a warm, ready, and able body to work. He then goes on to talk about reputation being built on over time (experience) not just in subject matter but also in known associations. There are many things to not be certain of, however how your new BYOID fits into the variety of corporate IdM requires is certainly to be interesting in the way they play out. How quickly will the corporate data cops embrace IdMaaS. I’m thinking BYOD especially with the “Y” generation is going to collapse that time.

  2. Drummond, a couple years ago you inspired me to start talking about a Personal Data Service as opposed to a Personal Data Store. The result of that conversation is here based on your post Now I need to understand the difference between a Personal Cloud and a Personal Data Service. Is there a difference? Or are you just using a new term?

    • Paul, it’s a great question. Generally speaking, I think “personal data service” and “personal cloud” can be considered synonyms. I myself prefer the latter because I feel it works better as a marketing term – it’s more evocative of the user having a “place in the cloud”. I also think the concept of a personal cloud OS is a powerful one, because it makes it clear you can run apps in your own personal cloud that are operating on your behalf the same way they would be if they are running in your own PC or smartphone, only they have access to all of the virtual data stored in your PDS.

      But you could consider that entire combined capability to be a personal data service if you prefer that term.

  3. TSE says:

    Very interesting Drummond. I get it; but still trying to get from where we are to where we are going with equipment and being positioned to take full advantage of the technology. Is the PC to be used on any device without consideration of hardware (i.e. PC vs. Apple; Windows vs. Droid; Chrome Book or Net Book, etc.)?

    • Yes, the whole idea of a personal cloud is that it is device independent. So I wouldn’t say it’s used “on” a device, rather it is used “by” a device. Think of it akin to an email account, or having your own FTP file server in the cloud — except that it’s not subject to terms-of-service that mean you could lose the data if a service provider terminates your account.

  4. Pingback: The Difference Between a Personal Cloud and a Personal Data Vault | Equals Drummond

  5. Pingback: Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) Roundup | Note To Self

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