Is the current definition of Cloud Computing too limiting?
Companies who might be able to creatively utilize Cloud-based technologies might be letting industry-defined terms and expectations get in the way of their success.
When you step back and look at cloud computing as a whole, it’s not just a new approach to computing and networking, it’s an entirely different way for human beings to access and store data and useful components (apps, programs, etc…). This new approach of course extends to both individuals and businesses alike, albeit in the form of entirely different products.
For individuals, cloud computing is primarily being used to house and access personal data, files or content. Storing music in the cloud is a pretty common thing nowadays too, as evidenced by of Amazon’s Cloud drive / player. Then there’s cloud storage space available through numerous companies, for use in a variety of situations, with even more potential purposes being placed on the (proverbial) table (where capability is concerned). The basic, free email services we all love and rely on are…without question, incorporating newly developed cloud technologies all the time as well. This all adds up to a potential situation where an individual’s computing activities are carried out remotely. In other words, a person’s computer system, setup and data become a virtual entity. Once something like that happens, those manufacturers who are selling devices can begin optimizing them for better, larger, and more feature-rich OS’s (to use in conjunction with a cloud service, or services).
That’s the other thing; it’s not clear whether or not the companies (capable of providing cloud service or actual devices) are going to work together or remain competitive. If the bigger organizations work together they will likely dominate the cloud computing markets. The question is; what effect is the emergence of an honest-to-goodness consumer cloud computer going to have on the average business, or owner? Will the technology create even more potential for companies to capitalize on their IT assets? Maybe it won’t have that sort of an effect at all; perhaps when devices like that become commercially available it severely drives back the need for extensive on-site IT?
Why would it do that, you ask? Since most, well…all, of the infrastructure in a cloud computing scenario is in another location (as well as virtually invisible from an outward perspective) and covered in the cost of the service itself, there’s a smaller demand for IT resources. This is not to say that cloud computing is going to destroy traditional IT entirely, only that we might see a trend emerge where more and more IT workers are being absorbed by increasingly larger companies. This of course also necessitates the need for having IT personal (on-site) who are certified in cloud computing.
Also, what’s to stop an organization from making private cloud solutions more available and affordable? If we see a large number of organizations, businesses, and groups purchasing private clouds, we might see hundreds of little companies springing up everywhere selling various types of cloud-based services. Perhaps they could utilize some kind of cloud-serviced app-to-mobile device type setup? Who knows, right?
Maybe the term “cloud computing” is a bit too passive (as a term)? It does seem to conjure up fluffy images; (it’s not a bad thing) but it’s a much more active and interesting area of technology than the name might otherwise indicate. We need to collectively step back and realize that there’s a very good chance that cloud computing is going to replace virtually all of our current infrastructure in the near future. In other words, the days when people went to the store to buy a self-contained machine might (sort of) be coming to a close. Or, owning a powerful, self-contained machine becomes a much less popular option for general consumers. In either scenario, the buying habits of consumers are going to shift toward cloud computing because it offers increased power, potential and is likely to be much cheaper in terms of overall price per unit.
Why is all of this important? Today’s companies need to be constantly thinking of ways to increase their potential worth, abilities, efficiency. When you have certain technologies emerging, like cloud computing (which is still largely uncharted territory, mind you), opportunities and breakthroughs are expected. This in turn, presents a big prospect for all sizes and shapes of businesses to get involved in applying this new technology to real-world situations. As you might expect, this kind of activity often leads to profit generation, which is great for those businesses (and the economy).
The bottom line is, if you’re involved in managing (or own) any size business, especially one that relies on and/or heavily uses computing / networking, cloud computing should become a fixture for you and your organization. But you shouldn’t simply think of cloud computing as a new fad, or “placeholder” technology. All signs and trends point toward cloud computing becoming an incredibly powerful force, and/or even altering the basic relationship we all have with our own personal computers and hardware. It’s a lot to take in; but those businesses who keep their options (and minds) open to the creative use and application of cloud computing, stand to do extremely well in the future.