Friday, September 9, 2011

Reliability of cloud computing - #LaptopFriday

It's often interesting to plan some 'light' work that I can do in the coffee shop context where fellow digital professionals gather each week for Cheltenham's #LaptopFriday.

Today, part of the general conversation was from someone lamenting that he'd attended a 'cloud computing' event where - amazingly - there was no WiFi provision. So the delegates could hear about cloud, but not actually use it from their mobile devices!

And then I turn to today's BBC News where there's a report of Microsoft's Hotmail, Office 365 and Skydrive and other services taken offline, preventing millions of users from accessing their stored files and emails and other services. The BBC notes, 'Such a major problem is likely to raise questions about the reliability of cloud computing versus local storage.'

Such problems don't just affect Microsoft. Much of the cloud infrastructure runs on services provided by Amazon and they've had several major outages this year, taking services that use them off line. And well-publicised breaches of security, such as the hacking of Sony Playstation user account details earlier this year, cause thoughtful users to question the services we're being sold.

The bottom line is that it's not all about the cloud. But cloud is far from over. It's appropriate for some - but, critically, not all - scenarios. Expect users to become more sophisticated and to demand greater control of their privacy and their ability to trust service suppliers.
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