Cloud misconceptions

18 11 2011

Recently I have read a lot of comments on blogs regarding the cloud, many of which have been made by in house IT specialists or the general public. While it’s always good to read peoples comments and thoughts on a subject, what is concerning is the amount of “misinformation” many of the comments exhibit.

 

Cloud = Death of the PC?

It seems that many in the general public really do see the cloud as attempting to kill off their beloved PC, or a way in which cloud providers can steal your information. I am a little concerned as to where these ideas have come from. I can think of one source, and that is Google…

Google has been pushing their version of the cloud for a while, and their vision of “Chrome” notebooks that simply run a browser and nothing else. The whole concept that we can do everything in a browser really isn’t true, and it’s aimed at people who mainly go on the web and do nothing much more…The Google vision of the cloud is not one that brings anything new to the table, its not a vision that is to help consumers or businesses, no its a vision that drives people to continue to use their search, and therefore a tool to allow them to charge more to companies to advertise with them. Nothing more…

The cloud essentially should be seen as an extension of the infrastructure and technologies we have today. Not everything a consumer wants to do will be in the cloud, nor will all their data and content. Rather cloud services are there so that you can have better experiences across multiple devices, rather you can use back up services seamlessly and that for some software, you can use it as a service. This is the correct vision of the cloud for consumers.

Keeping in mind the amount of consumers who state their fears that the cloud is an attempt at killing off the PC, equally as many IT professionals seem to feel the same, if not worse. Many blog comments state they feel that cloud providers are trying to move everything to the cloud, that there is no need for servers in house, and that the model being proposed is that of the main frame days…Again, where has this come from?

The cloud for enterprise is nothing like the main frame model. If anything the cloud is an extension of client server, with applications being connected via the cloud to their content and data. It’s simply a different way of doing certain things, and not all things that businesses do (in terms of IT need / use) can be applied or work in the cloud. For many software providers the cloud will provide services which enrich the solutions they deliver, allowing them to provide additional features and functions. And for certain IT tasks such as backup and storage, sure you may leverage the cloud in a native fashion and remove costly in house servers and administration. But please remember, the cloud for enterprise is not about moving everything to the cloud…

 

Cloud definitions

It’s also worth noting that the Cloud still has different definitions, and probably always will have. Amazon cloud services are very different from those of Microsoft’s. For example Amazon sees a complete “Cloud” solution, where you use their infrastructure and move whatever you want (infrastructure wise) to the cloud. This is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Almost like an all or nothing approach to those functions you chose to move to the cloud. Microsoft on the other hand delivers a cloud platform as a service (PaaS). This essentially is like another server that you can connect to and leverage, deploy software on it, content, storage and leverage services from it, it just so happens to live in the cloud and not in-house. This means you can have lots of things running in the cloud with Microsoft Azure, complete solutions if you wish, but you can also have very small components of bigger solutions that may run in-house, such as certain web services hosted in the cloud, but leveraged only by your in-house solution. The PaaS option is far more flexible to business needs and software requirements, and it is not intended to be seen as a replacement to the PC, nor the enterprise IT department…

 

Cloud = good

Well it does. It enables software and devices to understand user and application state, it enables better connectivity between our devices and solutions, and it enables the headaches of scalability for certain business needs to be removed from in-house. But, and it’s a big but, the cloud should never be seen as a replacement to in-house IT, it should never be seen as a replacement to the PC, and it should never be seen as a tool in which the cloud providers steal your personal information. Security is paramount to the cloud providers, without it, they don’t have a service to provide…

The cloud is a great extension to the way in which we use IT today, not a replacement for it.

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