Get Your Head Out of the Clouds by ProQuest


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                 TOOLS OF THE TRADE                                                                                                 by Erik Arnold
                                                                                                                       Director, Adhere Solutions, Inc.

            Get Your Head
            Out of the Clouds
            Thinking Clearly About the Next Big Thing

            Lost amidst the hype of the latest iPhone launch was the
            “consumerization” of cloud computing by Apple. Its MobileMe
            service enables users to sync email, contacts, and calendars to
            a wide variety of devices. Thankfully, Apple is trying to end the
            painful tasks of syncing information between desktop, mobile
            phone, and websites.

            T     his “simple” service showcases the allure of cloud com-
                  puting, the popular buzzword for software as a service
            (SaaS) and web services. The idea is to “rent” a service and let
                                                                                    Why is there such a discrepancy between cloud computing
                                                                                and how most of us still work? The concept of cloud computing
                                                                                is not new and has been championed, at times heavily, during
            the technology company take care of the rest. You do not have       the past 20 years by IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and count-
            to worry about the hardware, software, bandwidth, wires, secu-      less amounts of venture capital dollars. While a lot of the cur-
            rity, and the other myriad issues that come with a typical soft-    rent press talks about this “new” frontier, a quick bit of history
            ware purchase.                                                      may give business and information managers a better frame-
                In addition, once you have information stored online, it is     work for leveraging this important new way of computing.
            much easier to disseminate and use in other applications. To
            young people, the thumb generation, this is second nature.
                                                                                Clouds 1.0
            They have grown up having their data stored online and having
            their daily activities, even scandalous ones, getting sent as RSS      From the early days of the web, and the first dot-com boom
            feeds to their friends. They have never had to deal with such       more than a decade ago, a large number of companies promot-
            mundane tasks as archiving their Outlook data file, a task that     ed web services as a better way to compute. As one of the heav-
            can consume an entire hard drive. (I just stopped carrying          iest users of SaaS service in the ’90s, I have a unique perspec-
            around all of my Outlook email on a thumb drive.)                   tive. In my zeal for all things web-enabled, I had everything
                However, to enterprise users, the benefits of cloud comput-     outsourced. Internet companies received and paid my bills,
            ing are still a hazy dream. When my wife accesses her corpo-        hosted my Microsoft Exchange email, and online web storage
            rate email from home, it is a maze of proprietary software,         saved my corporate files. I was, and still am, a big believer in
            VPNs, logins, and separate windows that can cause mass con-         computing in this fashion.
            fusion and support issues. Bless the other attorneys out there         However, there can be downsides. Besides services not al-
            who have to deal with such processes from their hotel rooms,        ways online, the crash of the internet bubble in 2000 taught me
            coffee shops, or airports.                                          some lessons. It took me months 
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