Apps Apps Apps. Oh and web services

31 08 2011

The growing demand for smart phones, and the ever growing number of us who now own one, and almost rely on one, means we (as consumers and end users) now expect to be able to consumer content and work in different ways. It’s amazing that “culturally” many of us now come to expect certain possibilities from our mobile devices, and that means we expect certain things from the content we wish to access or the solutions we wish to use to work. With this in mind, we need to architect solutions and user experiences not just for the “web” or the desktop, but for both, and not just for both, but also for mobile devices…

 

Apps, Apps and yet more Apps

It really all started with the iPhone, the drive for “there’s an app for that”, which means many of us now use apps for so many day to day type tasks. Apps deliver a far greater user experience than any web based “app” can in a mobile browser, even HTML 5. Keep in mind this fact, as it means consumers expectations are higher than ever, which ultimately means software developers need to provide “App” solutions, and not rely on HTML 5 for cross platform compatibility.

This same expectation on our mobiles means we expect similar from our desktop experiences. So while HTML provides cross browser capabilities and the newer HTML 5 provides richer experiences, it doesn’t quite hit the expectations consumers and users now have.  So what does this mean? Well it means that the desktop application is not dead, rather it is evolving, throw in the cloud and we can see where things “should” be going…

The Cloud

The cloud and SaaS opens up new doors, especially for “Apps”. Relying on HTML 5 to deliver cloud based applications is simply mad, simply because user’s expectations have moved on. For me, HTML 5 is simply 2 years already too late. The solutions then should be delivered in “app” type fashion, and this is where I believe Silverlight and Flash will lead the way. Both can deliver almost desktop type solutions and user expectation, but be deployed over the web. With Silverlight you can run it within the browser or out of the browse, as if a real desktop application installed on the machine. This surely is the way to go…

I know Apple goes on about HTML 5, but do we really believe that Apple sees people using HTML 5 apps on their iPad, when a user can access a far better experience, more features etc. by simply using the “App” for that?

Web Services

Good old web services play a pivotal role here, allowing any form of application (desktop, HTML 5, Silverlight, Flash etc) to communicate and essentially “work”. It seems that all these technologies are starting to “align” which means that these are exciting times…

One architecture for all?

With the cloud, web services and the drive for apps, we essentially have a single architecture that is already drawn out for us for so many different types of solutions. The only down side is that “apps” need to be developed for individual platforms, though Flash and Silverlight cover a few of the basis. But, “Apps” are essentially the front end of the solution, all the work is still being done down in the engine room and via web services, so it’s not as big of an issue as many may try and claim.

New ways of doing business

This architecture, and mobile devices, along with their apps, opens up so many new avenues for the ways in which we communicate, we consumer content, we play and how we work. It even means so many business processes that we believe are fixed in “stone” can be changed, and be changed for the better and at a cost that isn’t astronomical.

I think Apps, along with the cloud and web services will change the way in which so many day to day processes and tasks are done, I also firmly believe that there are a number of technologies in the pipeline that will take too long to evolve and will be overtaken by the “app” monster…I feel the big HTML 5 could well be one of them, with many organisations not investing in new HTML 5 websites, or applications, rather opting for real “Apps” leveraging web services…

What do you think will suffer at the hands of apps?

It would be interesting to know what other budding technologies, or big ideas, that you think may potentially fall by the wayside, because we now have such an architecture and consumer expectation for Apps…





The “Bewares” of Cloud Computing …

26 05 2010

I have posted about Cloud Computing a number of times, a couple of times looking at some of the downsides and others the big positives of cloud computing. However, answering a question on eBizq.net today got me thinking just what the definitive list of downs is for cloud computing….Surprisingly there are many more than you expect.

Don’t get me wrong, I love cloud computing and for certain applications and for businesses under a certain size, the Cloud and SaaS provides a great solution and a great cost reduction in entry to certain forms of software. There are numerous occasions that I do, and will recommend SaaS (Sofware as a Service) and cloud based solutions to organisations. However, there is quite a list of things to take into consideration:

1. Stable communication – This is a basic and fundamental issue with the cloud computing ideal. If your internet connection goes down during the day, then you are going to have issues communicating with the cloud and any SaaS. In the UK, many organisations experience downtime from the internet daily, sometimes for considerable time periods. It is great to presume that our internet connection will always be up, but it simply won’t be.

2. Communication performance – I know we are in the 2010, but internet performance is not as good as my LAN, especially when I have hundreds of users trying to connect and use particular software. Bandwidth, local area usage of the internet in general, internet provider and cloud provider’s internet connection rates etc etc are all potential issues. I know many organisations which struggle to access the internet at 3:45pm-4:30pm each day, why? Simply because the school kids are now at home and checking their facebook accounts….

3. Application performance – I love SaaS, but to use it heavily on mission critical software is a no go. Not only do you have issues with communication stability and performance, you also have issues with the actual software performance itself (waiting for calls to be made across the web etc). It is also worth noting; just what technology is used to deliver SaaS applications. Standard web pages with AJAX place quite a load on the server, and will no doubt have further performance issues. Web based applications cannot compete with traditional desktop applications in terms of usability and performance

4. SaaS usability – Often web based software has issues with usability of the UI. This is an issue that is starting to be negated with technology such as Silverlight, however, with traditional web pages this is a real issue. Some cloud providers also place a restriction on how web based applications are delivered, this is not good and really restricts the flexibility and ultimately user experience.

5. Just where is my content / data – Some organisation have commitments to customers and regulatory bodies to ensure their data is stored in-country. However, on the cloud, what does this mean? Your actual storage could be in LA though you are committed to store data in the UK. In addition, many organisations (by law) have to know exactly where their content is stored. This doesn’t mean “it’s in the cloud” rather you need to know its exact location (which server and where) and who has access to the physical hardware it sits on. In the cloud, this just isn’t possible.

6. Limitations on integration – Many organisations need to embrace cross application integration to raise efficiency and at the end of the day customer experiences. On the cloud this is very limiting

7. Different implementations / ideas of a cloud – Some implementations use virtual environments of actual servers, others limit the things you can place on the cloud (sometimes to be written with a certain language etc)

8. Reliance on more than a single provider – some cloud providers utilise other cloud providers. This means that your applications etc become reliant on not just one set of “cloud based variables”, but many.

9. Too many people jumping on the bandwagon – by this I mean IT companies and providers. Many now state their software is cloud enabled or are providing solutions for the cloud (which is fine). However, what constitutes a cloud solution between software providers varies quite a bit

10. Lock in – locked in to a certain cloud provider, or more importantly, into the way in which they deliver cloud computing.

11. Costs – Believe it or not, cloud computing for certain tasks will be more expensive than sticking to using your own in-house environment. Always always look at the actual operational cost as a whole to your organisation and not just a comparison like for like on a particular peice of software (or SaaS variant).

 I am sure there are more points to add to this list, however the list is not meant to scare people off utilising cloud computing and SaaS. Rather this post is to make people aware of some of the restrictions of using the cloud, and help organisations make better informed decisions on how to use their IT and what type of solutions work best for them. My fear with “cloud hype” is that organisations jump to use the cloud only to find it doesn’t meet their requirements, expectations or compliance obligations…

The cloud has its place and we need to ensure the lines between what works well on the cloud, and what works best in house are drawn more clearly…Unfortunately, many cloud and IT vendors and providers will always try to make this line more “foggy” or even inform us that it doesnt exist…Just to sell you cloud computing…





Redefine the way we use the web, to unlock its potential…Web 3.0?

6 02 2010

This is something I have been thinking about for a number of years now, but more so recently with a lot of talk of HTML 5. Basically we haven’t really changed the way we use the internet (from a technical point of view) since the web became mainstream shall we say. Sure, we now use it in new ways which we hadn’t dreamed of (habits and the way we communicate with each other), but essentially the web still works the same way it always has. We use the web as content rendered as HTML that is displayed back to us in a web browser. Even if HTML 5 is the magic version and delivers so much more in terms of animation and streaming has it actually changed the way in which we use / the web works for us? No…

Let’s not go back to the good old Mainframe environment…

It seems more and more IT professionals and large organisations see the web as the new mainframe, especially when you start talking “thin client” and “cloud computing” (the cloud could be seen as our mainframe..scary). When you start looking at mainframe environments and then cloud and thin client computing, you see that the basic concepts are very similar. So what do I mean, well, all of the processing happens on a server, the machine you actually use to access it, doesn’t really have to do anything. In a mainframe environment we have dumb terminals, in the new way of thinking (trying not to laugh, sorry) we have a PC that run’s a browser (this could be a very low spec machine), and if all we did is “cloud compute” we perhaps wouldn’t need anything else?

Sure I see benefits, some of which are green, but the negatives are so obvious to see. These are essentially the same problems we have with mainframes and the same problems that lead us to using the “PC” and the “Network” to replace mainframes?

Some thin client issues?

Let me give you an example. Imagine you and I are working as designers, creating 3D computer models of pretty much anything. We may even be responsible for animating these 3D models (think something like toy story, I don’t know why, it just popped in my head). Ok, now imagine you are part of a team of say 20 working on these models, of course you are designing Buzz, someone else Woody etc. Let’s think just how much “processing” power do we need for this – just you and your requirements? The answer, quite a bit, well a lot. Now image having to times that by 20. Oh, and now let’s have that processing carried out in a “thin cloud computing environment” (of course your application is written with the fab HTML 5 which means we can do anything), which at the end of the day needs a hell of a lot of work going on at the server, oh and traffic across our network… Do you see the problems?

Well basically, even with the advances of our hardware, the server will be doing too much and things won’t go well. The system will be going slow, maybe crashing, you as a designer will be going mad with frustration, along with the rest of your team, oh and not to mention you are working to a deadline so the project manager is now going mad. Let’s throw into the mix too, that our team is distributed across the States and the UK, and some of us love using Internet Explorer, some FireFox, some even Chrome…Hmm though in theory the web is great here, it is no match to a good old client desktop, some distributed servers…

Now I know I am focusing here on a situation that doesn’t lend itself to “cloud computing” or “thin clients” but if we believe all the hype of HTML 5, cloud computing why shouldn’t we be thinking this is possible? But, as our hardware advances so does our software (though at a slower rate granted) and we as users (be us general public users or business) expect more and more performance and capabilities. So while some of our user requirements do seem to lean us toward a cloud computing way of working, soon our requirements will no doubt swing back the other way (and wont we be repeating the Mainframe and PC story all over again?)

There is an answer

The answer is pretty simple to be honest and it is something Flash showed us the way to a number of years ago when it first started popping up on the web. The answer is a mixture of the two.

So let’s start evolving how we use the web properly (not just our habits) but how it is used. The web becomes a communications network and in some ways returns to its roots. We can still use it in the way we are used to, as in we find websites and we view them in a web browser, however, those websites that aren’t just presenting us with some information, or basic shopping facilities, websites that are more “applications”, get themselves installed on the client machine. So think MS Office on the web. Why install on the client? So that the user experience is not restricted by the web architecture, nor the browser, and that “processing loads” are removed from the server and distributed back down to the client PC.

Isn’t that what Flash was doing, installed and running on the client, err years ago? Yes, and that’s why Flash has worked so well to now…The problems with Flash are not what it visually looks like, nor its basic architecture (running on the client), the problems are that it doesn’t lend itself to being able to deliver “applications”. So it is great for the web to show animations, and funky banners, slick movies etc but don’t think it will be great at delivering that 3D modelling tool we spoke about earlier…

So let’s go back to our 3D modelling requirement in the designer’s studio. In our new web world we are now working with a RIA that actually runs on the client machine, uses local storage on the machine and uses the web only for bare communications and maybe storage of files that are to be shared. All of a sudden, all of the issues with “thin client” and “cloud computing” and server loads are removed, yet essentially we are still using the web and “cloud computing” to an extent…

So the answer is RIAs that use the client processing power and that do not run in the web browser.

Is this available…

Yes it is. Since Microsoft launched its Silverlight platform (which many see only as a competitor to Flash) it has been working towards this type of scenario, where we can maximise the benefits of the PC and the benefits of the web and cloud computing. Silverlight 3 was the first version to deliver an out of the browser experience and this has been taken further with Silverlight 4, with it being able to run as a trusted application on the client machine. Oh it also runs on Mac’s and PCs and if in the browser, any browser…

Silverlight, though in some ways similar to Flash and even the old Java Applets, is a new way of using the internet, rather than us re-inventing the same way of using the web with more bells and whistles. Like flash and Java applets, Silverlight essentially runs on the client PC. Which means we can utilise its processing power to do our work, it doesn’t need to go back to the server for updates to the UI, business rules or anything like that, and it can be done there on the client machine? However, it is connected and delivered essentially through the web as a communications network, so its data and files can be easily pulled and pushed across the web and stored there. Updates to the software are also delivered through the web, with the user being able to get the latest versions of the software just by using the software itself.

At present this is all still young, but the potential is there to change our web experiences and what we realistically should be using the web for. MS Office could be delivered as nothing but a Silverlight OOB (out of browser) application, allowing us to purchase it online and using it within moments. And it would look and feel just like the version we currently have from a CD (not the slightly less functional web version). Business applications could be delivered through organisations intranets, or their “cloud providers”. Websites that provide “secure” trade or partner areas would essentially have these installed on the client machine. Twitter, Facebook and other types of highly interactive websites would be delivered as RIAs installed on the machine (there is a prototype for Facebook already built and made, which you can download and use at http://www.silverlight.net/content/samples/apps/facebookclient/sfcquickinstall.aspx). You havent used the flexibility of the web at all, if you were on a new machine and wanted to get to facebook, still visit the website where you would get prompted to install the client, which would be a simply and quick install…and away you go, back on facebook.

The future then is…

Re-defining the web as a communications network and moving RIAs out of the web browser and down onto the client. By using the web in this fashion we get a truly distributed environment that has the benefits of the web, but also the benefits of the client machine…





Virtualisation, it’s not a cloud

20 01 2010

In the world of IT we often come across confusion, especially when you are from a “business” perspective. Often this confusion is brought about by IT professionals and blogging, mixing what is technology with a business concept / way in which to implement IT technology. I see this time and time again when people are talking about cloud computing, with the technology being mixed up with or as the business concept that is cloud computing.

Virtualisation is the big thing that always gets associated with the cloud or as the same thing. This is a prime example of a technology being confused with a business solution / concept / way of implementing IT.

The lines of difference…

It can get confusing and downright cloudy when talking about technology and concepts of how to implement technology. However, these are very different things, and if we can make a clear distinction between the two, it is far easier to talk to the business about the benefits of a “concept” or a technology.

The key in making clear distinctions between technology and implementation is down to IT professionals. At the end of the day, business does not need to know the nitty gritty, rather they need to know the business benefits that a solution will bring them.

Virtualisation – a technology

I hate saying something is a “technology” but it does make things easier to explain. Virtualisation is a technology that allows “IT” to get more out of hardware resources. How it does this, really isn’t of great concern to a business, only the fact that it does it (why have IT professionals in your business if you want to understand all the IT yourself?). Basically though, Virtualisation allows your hardware to become more than just one server. (Please I am being very basic in my explanation I know). So, lets take a single server (physical hardware) and allow it to become 3 for example. So in your company you used to have 3 servers all running different solutions on them etc. But now, with Virtualisation you have 3 servers all running on one physical box (doesn’t matter if one server run Windows, another UNIX etc). I am not going into any more detail than that, as that’s all that is required in this type of post…

Cloud Computing – A way of working

Cloud computing is not a technology; rather it is a way in which we can use technology to decrease IT overheads (cost wise in theory).  Cloud computing is essentially letting someone else (outsourcing) provide you with the hardware and infrastructure required to run aspects of your IT. You then connect to that IT over the internet. Simple explanation I know, but I like to keep things simple. Cloud Computing is therefore a business model that companies can adopt…

So why does Virtualisation get confused with or as Cloud Computing? Well I am sure it is because Virtualisation is used by cloud providers in order for them to maximise their own IT infrastructure. Bloggers often confuse things by talking about Virtualisation in great length in their posts about the benefits of using the cloud. There is also one other reason why Virtualisation gets confused with the cloud, and that’s due to “perspective”…

Perspective of your IT

We love to use diagrams to illustrate how something works, and IT infrastructure is no different. As a business person, you could get a little confused between Virtualisation and the Cloud because of diagrams and some less than helpful statements by us in IT.

If you choose to use Virtualisation in house, you may well see the odd diagrams popping up that represent a cluster of servers (on your own system) as a “cloud” especially if you are using virtualisation. This shouldn’t be the case, often the “cloud” is reserved for the internet (hence the cloud computing term), however I have seen such diagrams as it is hard to represent a “virtualised” server environment. In addition, people often see Virtualisation as a way of implementing an internal “cloud” computing environment, or Virtualisation as an internal cloud solution. This isn’t right, and IT should correct this rather than encouraging this thinking. I have seen many blog posts even on “Private Clouds..” but there is no such thing as a private cloud. Remember the cloud is the “internet”…Why is it overlooked or encouraged? Well the “cloud” has a lot of buzz about it at the moment, simple as that. Its far easier to get people talking about an internal cloud or getting people to a blog titled “Private cloud” compared to “Virtualisation of your network…”

Virtualisation – not just for the cloud

So hopefully, from a business point of view, we understand the difference between “cloud” and “virtualisation”. If so, you can see why virtualisation isn’t something only used by the cloud, rather it is a technology that many businesses can take advantage of to help maximise IT hardware use. It therefore comes with a host of benefits for an organisation, some of which include:

  1. Reducing administration cost
  2. Reducing hardware cost
  3. Reducing electricity bills

I am a strong believer that we will see virtualisation use grow within businesses, no matter what their thoughts are on “cloud computing”. I also believe that Virtualisation will help many cloud computing providers – however, do I see us all switching over to cloud based solutions…..NO….But that’s a different post.





When the cloud provides savings

18 06 2009

Many organisations are looking at possibilities in which “cloud computing” can provide savings. However, many IT people themselves will resist migrating large areas of their IT to the cloud, and for good reasons. After all, there are so many considerations:

  • Security
  • Accessibility
  • Potential Expansion costs
  • Support
  • Migration
  • Etc

When looking into cloud computing, it makes great sense for consumers and small businesses. For medium organisations and larger corporations, the numbers just don’t add up, and there are far too many “concerns”.

This is something I have posted about in the past; http://andrewonedegree.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/does-cloud-computing-save-money/ and is something that more and more people are talking to me about…So, does the cloud provide savings on storage? Savings on software? Administration?

Storage savings in the cloud?

Errrmmmm. Probably not. Not even if you are a small business or it’s just you on your own. Storage space and storage devices are so cheap now, your far better off just plugging in a removable hard drive and using that as a storage device. Ok, so it’s not a mirrored drive, but you can automate your backups quite easily and you can even take them off site, all this at almost zero cost monthly.

If you look to use the “cloud” for your storage, you may well find that your monthly outlay will be creeping up. My own company has stopped providing these services to small organisations simply because there isn’t a saving to be made. On top of that, if you have large “lumps” of data to store online, it can take a hell of a long time to upload.

So when does the “cloud” provide savings?

Basically, if your volume of usage is low, then the “cloud” makes great sense. Let’s look at Microsoft Office running in the cloud. Small businesses basically all purchase an Office license, and with it they use Office to run large areas of the business (in micro-businesses maybe all of the company). However, Office in the “cloud” provides them with pretty much the same functionality at a vastly reduced cost. So instantly there are savings to be made.

SaaS (Software as a Service) really can provide genuine savings, especially for small organisations. There are also the added benefits of “sharing” information through “cloud” based applications. Though again, please be careful, not all SaaS provides savings, especially over the longer term. Many applications that operate in the “cloud” also store your information in the “cloud”, and as such can mean a cost for using up x amount of space.

Our own workFile ECM solution can be used in the cloud as SaaS. There are great savings to be made for smaller organisations, as the amount of content they access; store etc in the cloud is small enough not to have any impact on cost. However, if their requirements got to a level where storage and bandwidth becomes real issues, it makes great financial sense to purchase and implement the system internally.

 

Conclusion…

The “cloud” can deliver you and your organisation great savings if the volumes are right. Always, always, always, monitor and make sure you know what volumes of usage and storage you may / are using. At a point, the “cloud” stops delivering savings and starts providing you with added costs…





Does cloud computing save money?

20 04 2009

This is something I have been looking into quite a bit in the past 6 months, and though reading lots about the “cloud” suggests this is the case, I have always had my reservations. For me there is a distinct difference between cloud based services, and the cloud itself.

Cloud Services

This is basically software applications that operate in the cloud (SaaS – Software as a Service). Here I can see many cost saving benefits, simply due to licensing and usage. For some time there has been a distinction between “dedicated” licenses and “concurrent” licenses, the second being basically licensing on demand. We have always sold our own licenses for software, such as workFile, workFile EPOS etc on a “concurrent” basis, allowing a 1-10 license model. This means you can have up to 10 users for 1 concurrent license, effectively providing large cost savings.

Cloud Networking and Storage

Ahh, outsourcing your actual hardware and storage capacity requirements. Now here is where my main reservations lie, simply because of cost analysis never seems to be quite right. I have always thought that the more space I used up “in the cloud” would cost more per month, so the larger the organisations requirements, obviously the cost of their “cloud” services would increase. I also believe that the larger the requirement the more cost “ineffective” the cloud could potentially become. I have to be honest, most of my thoughts on this were based on our own hosting programmes that OD Media offer, and our own cloud solutions based on workFile.

Concerns proved?

Today I see that a McKinsey study actually proves my concerns. Let’s face it, large enterprises are not going to commit all their data storage and networks to the “cloud”. So, realistically there will be some hybrid requirement, if one at all. Because of this there really just isn’t any large saving to be made for larger organisations, sure if you outsource everything there will be an admin saving to be made, but since this realistically won’t happen, that saving is negated.

Small businesses? General Public?

This for me is where cloud computing services should be aiming, and in the purest form, cloud computing has been aimed at these areas for some time, just think of outsourcing your website…

There are savings to be made for small businesses, especially if using SaaS. Our own workFile ECM SaaS does provide significant cost savings to small businesses.

The general public will always make savings with SaaS, though with the “cloud” storage I am not so sure. At the end of the day, most members of the general public will purchase a mass storage device, which is more than adequate. So again, SaaS is the only real benefit I see…





Seeing past the marketing cloud, in cloud computing

28 03 2009

A lot of our customers have been talking about “cloud computing” and asking us to explain it in some simpler terms. Some have even got caught up in the marketing hype, of shall we say, the larger cloud computing players. This really isn’t surprising when you start looking around the web for information on cloud computing, it can be quite confusing, full of marketing hype and sometimes, I would say, misleading.

Cloud computing, in its basic form

Let’s look at what cloud computing is. First off, the cloud is just really a term for the internet or externally hosted space. Why cloud? Well for those of you not from a technical background, it’s simply because when diagramming out networks etc, externally hosted content or the internet was drawn as a cloud.

In its basic form, and without any jargon, cloud computing is simply an externally hosted environment, accessed and connected to via the internet. That’s it. Oh, and it’s not a new idea by any means. If you think of it as this pure concept, cloud computing has been used since the birth of the internet. By hosting a web site, which contains content, on a third parties server, which is connected to and accessed by the internet, you effectively are using cloud computing.

So what is new?

Like many things in IT, the concept is nothing new; it isn’t even a new technology. What is new is the way we see that concept and the things we add, or take away. For example, think back to a time before Blogs were on the web. Many of us read news articles on the web, we may have even used forums and discussion boards but never blogged. But, blogging was a massive new thing, and with all the hype that went along with it, many people believed it was some new technology, something that had never been done before. In essence, a blog is just a news article that we can comment on, or it’s a forum where you don’t respond to one topic, you respond to an author’s topics. See, nothing new there. But something new is created, but it’s not a new technology, rather a new way of looking at things. The same is true of cloud computing.

Cloud confusion

Now things get a little complicated when people look at how companies provide their clouds. By this I mean, how the third party actually provides you with hosting space.

Looking at Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Computer Cloud), we see that the implementation is to provide virtual machines for people on their hardware, effectively using one machine as many, expanding virtual machines to meet the usage demands. In this method, Amazon EC2 does give developers a lot of freedom to deliver software in any shape or form. The cloud really is a virtual machine.

Google offers its own cloud computing solution; however, developers have to deliver applications written in Python. This is very limiting, and in essence a developer is not presented with a personal machine, rather a space reserved for them on the Google servers.  

Microsoft’s Azure provides a cloud platform that enables developers to deliver web based applications. As long as you wish to develop in Microsoft technologies, then Azure will provide all that you need to run your applications in the cloud. So this is a little bit of a mix between the Google solution, and the Amazon solution, however Microsoft bundle a lot of extras, such as storage services, Windows Live integration etc.

Please note at no point have I discussed other concepts that often get confused with cloud computing, concepts such as Parallel distributed computing, or Grid computing. We will talk about this another time….

Should you use cloud computing….

I see some real benefits, the obvious being accessibility to your content / applications. However, I see some real pitfalls too, most of which revolve around security, physical locations of content and the freedom to move away from a particular provider. The following article does highlight a number of concerns and issues for businesses. http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/03/27/235439/security-concerns-for-cloud-computing.htm 

For the general public and even some small businesses, cloud computing makes real sense. They don’t have to invest in expensive hardware, backup and disaster recovery services nor payout for particular software.

A small business though will do well to look to standard webhosting environments and software development companies that provide external hosting of particular applications. My own company provides these services with our workFile ECM platform. We provide a Virtual Server on our externally hosted platform, and allow businesses to access and use all the typical content management functions across the internet. The difference here is that the storage space and physical location of the application and content is known at all times, it isn’t lost in the “cloud” as such. Also workFile is a highly secure repository, encrypting all content within its repository.

Don’t get me wrong, I can see massive potential for cloud computing, but more focused on delivering applications and storage space to the general public.

It’s all in the marketing…

As usual it’s how we market things and cost that determine how successful something is. In the case of “cloud computing” this really is true. However I have missed a trick, that’s for sure. My own company has provided “cloud computing” services and “cloud” applications for sometime. However, it has never been marketed as anything “new”. This is changing though, the language we use, and the way we describe these services will now be communicated as “cloud computing” and “cloud based applications”. And to deliver cloud based solutions, we won’t have to change a line of code….








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