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Computing in the cloud

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Wednesday August 6, 2008 )

It seems we’ve come full circle. Before the PC, computers were usually dumb terminals hooked into a networked mainframe. Sound familiar?

The web, and particularly the Web 2.0 phase, has seen somewhat of a shift away from having all your applications stored on your system to hooking into applications stored elsewhere – for example, Google Apps.

It’s not just individuals hooking into “the cloud”; but companies large and small. Google Apps is said to have over half a million organizations using it.

Cloud computing can take a lot of strain off system administrators. I remember one of the last places I worked in the “real” world was in the process of moving over to a Citrix server setup in order to cut down on the amount of damage employees were managing to wreak on their computers. After implementation, I saw the SysAdmin smile for the very first time.

According to this article in Business Week, cloud computing is an industry worth a couple of hundred million a year at the moment, but it’s expected to become a billion dollar industry in a few years with heavyweights such as Microsoft getting on board with their “Software-plus-Services” brand.

There’s a lot to be said for remotely hosted software – the costs can be less, you’ve always got the latest version, security is the vendor’s issue to deal with – much the same as the pros and the cons of remote vs. locally hosted shopping cart applications and mailing list management software.

For me, I’d rather have the applications on my own computer where possible, just in case my Internet connec…..


2 comments for Computing in the cloud
  1. Maybe we’re luddites, but I agree. While I use google docs extensively for organization and editing, I always make sure to back things up–that way, if one of the two sources get corrupted, I have the other as a backup.

    Comment by Melissa — August 6, 2008 @ 8:32 am

  2. Good call Michael, Software on my machine always needs a lot of attention, but so far I have only used a few online tools.If the net was more reliable and a bit safer I would consider giving Mr. Gates all of it to look after.
    I have just started using Google docs as another place to get organized, but fear it will soon resemble the front seat of my ute.

    Comment by Ern — August 6, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

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