Thursday, April 7, 2011

Advantages of Cloud Computing– Part XXX – Summary


There is no correct definition for Cloud Computing, because its definition is dependent upon what you’re doing right now. For me, it was an escape from the cramped environment I was forced to operate in, to a world of infinite possibilities.

On March 3, 2000, we migrated from being a software sales company to becoming a service organization overnight. It was not an easy transition. It meant giving up the periodic, large infusions of cash from sales, to a much smaller monthly recurring income. It took five years before my income caught up to the amount I needed to run my company. I didn’t make that decision lightly. It came only after a decade of research, which began with my understanding of relational database design and Computer Aided Software Engineering tools, and culminated with IBM’s announcement of the ‘AS/400 eServer’ in 1999.

Cloud Computing is simply a natural progression of technology from one state to another – from mainframe computers for the few, to unlimited resources for everyone. Once I started down that road, there was no turning back. It required a commitment like none I had previously imagined. It has been a painfully slow progression, but a relentless one none the less.

The most important thing you should remember is Cloud Computing is not new. In 1980, it was referred to as ‘time-sharing’; in 1990, it was called networking; in the Year 2000, it became ‘Application Service Provider’ (ASP). 

Client/Server computing was created in an attempt to centralize data over a network, but the user interfaces, the windows you use to access your applications, ran too slow on the server, so the user interfaces and most of the applications (programs) ran on desktops and accessed a common database residing over networks. If you’ve had a stay at the hospital lately, you must have wondered why you had to give your personal information over and over again.

Not only is Client/Server terribly complicated, its expense is enormous, and what resulted were multiple stores of data located in many disparate environments- data that could not be shared because of its unique characteristics. EDI and XML are used to parse data between systems creating even greater cost and even greater confusion.

Cloud Computing will replace Client/Server computing as surely as CDs replaced vinyl records and video-tape replaced film. Cloud Computing allows applications and data to reside in a central environment. ‘Virtualization’, another element of Cloud Computing, allows applications and data to share an infinite array of resources and environments provided by the data center, with the cost of these resources shared across everyone operating in the environment; resources, which small and medium-sized businesses could never economically justify for themselves.  

Someday, snail-mail will go the way of the Pony Express. We can’t afford it anymore. A penny postcard has accelerated to twenty-eight cents. It proves once again, ‘lower cost’ always wins the technology race. The question of Cloud Computing is moot. We simply have no choice in the matter.

-THE END-

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