How Cloudy Is Our Future, Really?

Charlene OHanlon

A friend and I were talking over lunch the other day when the subject of cloud computing came up. A self-professed Luddite, my friend asked what exactly cloud computing was.

In the most general of terms, I told her it was a model of computing whereby applications and even files and documents reside not on a computer's hard drive, but in an offsite data center, and a user accesses them via the Internet.

'But what if you can't get an Internet connection?' she asked. 'How do you get any work done?'

She, who uses her computer pretty much only to post on Facebook and fill out job applications, hit the target on the fundamental problem with cloud computing: no connection means no data. And while that might seem like a rarity in the enterprise or even SMB space, for consumers or a distributed work force, having no network connection is often more a reality than a threat.

Take, for instance, my 40-minute occasional trip into New York City via the Metro North commuter train. That's 40 minutes when I could be incredibly productive, but because there is no Wi-Fi available on the train, it's basically nothing more than a 40-minute enforced relaxation period. Ditto for the ride home.

You could argue that I could invest in a broadband network card for my computer and have access pretty much everywhere, but for the amount of money I spend each month getting data on my smartphone, it seems criminal to me to have to pay again for the same privilege on my computer. (And have you ever tried to get any real work done on a smartphone? It's nearly impossible.)

Yes, if you're willing to pay for it, you could have that (nearly) always-connected experience. How many times have you been on a business trip and shelled out the extra $15 a day for Internet access in your hotel room to get your work done? Does it seem fair that some places will charge for Internet access and other places, such as Starbucks or even McDonald's, offer it for free?

If the cloud computing revolution is indeed truly upon us, then we may be putting the cart before the horse. We first should be dealing with our infrastructure issues and ensuring connectivity is available-not to mention affordable-before we move into the clouds. I'm not a big fan of enforced relaxation, unless it's on a beach with a Mai Tai. And last I checked, the bar car on Metro North didn't serve blender drinks with little umbrellas.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 6, 2012 5:01 AM Joy Joy  says:
If the things you are working on is in the computer, then access to the internet is vital and if you are in a place where there is no internet access, just enjoy your vacation.:) Reply
Jan 26, 2012 12:01 PM Sunny Sunny  says:
I agree. That would be the major disadvantage of cloud working. If you don't have internet connection, you cannot work. And there could be times when you are in an unavoidable situation or place where you get cut off or in a place where connection is not good or even not present. Reply
Feb 2, 2012 4:02 PM Nicole Nicole  says:
Cloud computing is getting really popular! Reply
Feb 14, 2012 10:02 AM Carla Gomez Carla Gomez  says:
I heard cloud computing is such a great tool,haven't use that yet but in think it will suit to all businesses. Reply
Feb 28, 2012 11:02 AM Andrea Copter Andrea Copter  says:
If you can get a wifi connection or a portable USB,you can also try that while travelling. Reply
Mar 1, 2012 7:03 AM Andrei from Feather Duster Andrei from Feather Duster  says:
Cloud computing is one of the discovery that will definitely help online business. Reply
Mar 22, 2012 10:03 AM Legend Trail Legend Trail  says:
The first electronic digital computers were developed in the mid twentieth century. Originally, they were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers. In this era mechanical analog computers were used for military applications. Thanks. Reply
Mar 28, 2012 11:03 AM Ann Smith Ann Smith  says:
Cloud computing and internet connection go together...without internet connection you cannot work on the cloud. Reply

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