If you have reached the end of this article, then you have probably read a lot of articles on this topic. With all the jargon and buzz swirling around us, it is easy to get confused. However, look around at the applications showcased on code. google.com, aws.amazon.com, developer.yahoo.com, developer.live.com, developer.facebook.com. These services are driving the momentum. Take solace in the fact that these companies have spent years and years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get to this point, and you can use it to improve your business for free (for now). Keep a grain of salt handy for looking at new cloud services from organizations with no massive success records in scaling up computing environments.
LiveLinks 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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