Saying that your business should never, never, ever use cloud-based applications instead of desktop or network/server based ones is about as ridiculous as saying that cloud-based applications will eventually replace IT completely. An article titled ‘cloud computation is for suckers’ rallies on the follies of the cloud talking about flaky performance, dependency problems, cyber terrorism and the likes.
There might be some truth about performance issues because even with a 30 MBPS service you’ll get flaky performance from most online apps, especially if they’re popular. Always remember that your online speed is only as good as the speed at which data is coming at you: The application server may be swamped, and the various nodes along the route could become clogged, too. Nothing is ever as fast as the machine sitting on top of (or beneath) your own desk.
Despite the backlash, some basic facts cannot be hidden and that is the clouds are here to stay! I am not sure if I’ve mentioned this statistic before? Gartner predicts that by 2012 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will pay for some cloud-computing service, while 30 percent of them will pay for cloud-computing infrastructure. While the technology has its fair share of drawbacks such as privacy and security concerns, an undeniable silver lining is currently turning skeptics into enthusiasts.
A significant section of the technology community believes that there is a compelling case for clouds for business reasons and otherwise. Let’s look at social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube…the list is quite big. Utilizing a cloud service for communications would definitely be a cheaper alternative than a private solution because it is cheaper to connect to a hub or a network once rather than have multiple point to point connections. Cloud computing is a way to provide an application at low startup costs in exchange for revenue over time – whether through advertising, in the case of Google’s apps, or through a subscription model. Yes, it is very much “renting” rather than “owning,” but that can very well make financial sense in many cases.
Then there is this whole ‘more for less’ philosophy when shared resources are used on demand/intermittently. You’re no longer tethered to a single computer/network. You change workstations and your existing applications will follow you through the cloud. Moving to a portable device? Your applications will be available there. Desktop networking can destroy all your data when your hard disk crashes. But when your data’s out there in the cloud, it is still accessible and offers you an unlimited amount of storage. It’s likely that at some point any device that can access the Internet will be able to run a cloud-based application. Application services are available, independent of the user devices and network interfaces.