Monday, March 14, 2011

Advantages of Cloud Computing– Part XII – Increased Storage


When I started working with microcomputers (aka PCs) in the late seventies, ‘relational databases’ were unheard of in that field, and as a programmer I had to design an algorithm that would keep the data sorted so that every time I looked for something I wouldn’t have to search through a huge list to find it.  It was a complicated process and I won’t go into it here, but the point is, I had to be concerned with the location of the data in order to find it when I needed it.

Also, when I got started, the maximum amount of data that could be stored on a single disk was around 128,000 bytes. I bought a new PC just last month that had a minimum storage capacity of 1,000,000,000,000 (1 Terabyte). That’s nearly eight-million times larger than the storage space I started with. Now, almost everything I have (PC wise) is stored on one device that I keep backed up on Carbonite. The reason I have this new computer is because my previous one crashed and took all my data with it. Even with Carbonite, it took me two weeks to recover and reorganize everything in the way I needed it.

Today, I have no idea, (nor do I care) where the data is located, because the computer does that work for me. Like you, I still have to rely on personal computers to do stuff that requires writing letters, creating spreadsheets, producing POD cast and working on my manuscripts for articles and books. However the programs and data for my other business activities reside safe and secure in The Cloud. So for the time being, I operate in a hybrid environment of local data and programs, and cloud data and programs. This is one of the things that make cloud computing confusing.

I hate my PCs, but I really have no alternative, because as it stands, certain functions that work best on Windows-based PCs perform horribly in The Cloud. Take applications that require the familiar GUI (Graphical User Interface) that so many people have gotten used to. That’s the one where you have pop-up windows, drag down menus, impressive colors and aesthetic graphics. These applications run so slow in a cloud environment that it makes them virtually unusable. Much of the resources in your Windows-based PC are being devoured by GUI interfaces, and as developers strive to include the ‘WOW’ factor in their applications in order to impress you, they are slowing down your ability to get your work done.

Also, most Windows-based PC applications are designed for the ‘Client/Server’ environment in which data is stored on a centralized ‘server’ and the programs are running on independent PCs accessing the data through ‘Local Area Networks’.  The ‘Client’ is your PC, the ‘Server’ is the device I just mentioned. That technology is anti-cloud and that’s the main reason software companies who have invested enormous sums of money in ‘Client/Server’ technology will find it necessary to redesign everything they have written in order to move up to the next level.

Over the next few years, you will begin to see the migration take place in stages, with some functions available over the Internet, such as reports, while still others will continue to require GUI-based applications operating on local PCs.

Larger companies will be compelled to sit back and wait, hoping their software providers will get them to where they need to be, and this will create a small window of opportunity where smaller, more flexible operators can reach out and snatch large chunks of the market away from them. 

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