Sunday, August 31, 2008

Does Cloud has a Silver Lining ?

Which cloud are we Talking about ? Is it Cloud Computing ??  Is it another buzzword like dotcom. Why should you and I care about computing .......

Well yes !! We are talking about the cloud computing. Follow the news on technology and you'll see all the companies joining the bandwagon. Why ??

To give it a perspective, lets start with looking at what happened in past. When electricity started becoming popular in early 20th century, every nook and corner produced its own electricity. Very soon, Industry started realising the power of economy of scale and national electricity grids came into picture. Everything converged to a single point. Now Electricity generation is like using Cloud computing today. No more silo sources. 

On the contrary, Another big revolution that affected our lives to a great extent in 20th century, was transportation. Initial ships and rails were followed by cars and airplanes. Even though personal mode of transportation became more popular in US, the public transport became hit in European countries. With an analogous viewpoint, the Trains & Airplanes became the cloud of transportation whereas Cars and Motorbikes became individual computers & servers. Today, we see a wonderful hybrid model in transportation across the globe. Though, each mode of transport is always a competitor for the other mode of transport but they also are in co-opetition

In telecommunication, mobile phones were revolutionary. Their invention was not only a competitor to the existing landlines but also a major threat for making landline phone extinct. It took long time to realise that the society needs both of them and they are complementary to each other. Internet, which has changed the official and personal communication to a great extent in past two decades, is a major threat for other communication channels. So far, it has been very friendly and always augmenting the services of the other communication channels but we never know when it turns hostile. 

Similar to technologies discusses above, Cloud Computing definitely looks very promising but the concerns still loom for the effectiveness and usage of the cloud computing resources. More than cloud resources, it is bandwidth and connectivity issues which need to be addressed before getting ready for the cloud. It like building the highways and airports before getting ready to drive the cars and planes. 

On one hand where Microsoft has been consistent on maintaining its supremacy over desktop platform, Google is heavily betting on web platform. Google's latest release, Chrome, the fastest and most secure web browser is the foundation stone for ensuring success on the web platform and future web services. Its open source code will not only make it better but also lead to making the most popular web browser.  The increase widespread usage and popularity of web2.0 service is another good indication for the cloud computing landscape.

The cloud computing initiative which is being run by industry heavyweights like Google,Yahoo, Amazon, Microsoft, HP and IBM  has caught some attention by big consumers like GE and P&G, the big consumer of IT. The cloud initiative will change the landscape of current IT consulting industry. It is one of the biggest threats for the companies like Accenture, CSC and EDS. Their concerns are to adapt their current business model to the new evolving model with IT resources moving on to the cloud. 

Cloud will not only take away all the infrastructure redundancy but also lead to much more reliable and safer IT resources for the company. With hybrid model, cloud will take care of the peak time capabilities and also reduce the Total Cost of Ownership(TCO) of IT for the companies. The device and location independence of IT resources signifying the global nature of economy and usage will also help in resource utilization, more eco-friendly and efficient IT systems. What it won't take away or rather increase - would be the concerns of loosing control over company's sensitive data and security concerns. 

So is this silver lining at the cost of Golden lock on sensitive data ???