Computing is Getting a Little Cloudy
This spoof video, via satire site “The Onion” sums up much of what is going wrong with Cloud, and the marketing of Cloud-based apps, at the moment:
“Cloud” has become the buzz word to bolt on to every tech vendors products. Cloud computing, cloud software, I’ve even seen “cloud” broadband routers. Since The Internet was born, it has been the inevitable destination of services. Back in the 70′s and 80′s, computing was centralised, with remote terminals providing access to software running in huge data centres on the other side of the planet.
Roll forward a few decades, neatly hopping over the Personal Computing revolution, and we are back in the same model, but this time the flickering green-screen terminals are shining multi-media cell phones, and ultra-portable executive laptops. In the last week, I’ve listened to a few people talking down the cloud (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). The Cloud model definitely has both strengths and weaknesses. The key weaknesses being:
- Depends on network connectivity – no network, no service!
- Data security and continuity dependent on third party. Their data loss is your data loss.
- Access to data may be limited. Can’t always get out what you put it.
On the other hand, there are big benefits:
- Cross device availability of data – from desktop to mobile, no syncing problems.
- Independent of location/network – remote access is baked in.
- Data survives device failures – broken laptop or phone? Change it. No problem!
For our service here, we have done, and are doing, a few things to neutralise the weakness of the cloud:
- Using web browser storage – providing offline availability of plans (for Professional users).
- Full export capability – it’s your data, you can always get it back, and you have it locally.
- Enhanced security and continuity procedures.
- New API for developers and professional users (contact us for details)
- Broadest possible browser support (from the oldest versions of IE to the latest touch devices).
Of course there’s always more to do, but the cloud model of computing is actually a tried and tested one – used by the financial services industry, and many others, during the mainframe computing years. Cloud makes even more sense with today’s almost disposable devices – how long have you had your phone? When will you next replace it? How long until laptops – or tablets – get to that level?