Monday, August 11, 2008

Building Castles in the Air

Some very smart people have been telling me 'everything is moving toward the cloud', to which I partially agree. However, I'm consistently amazed how readily the piece of iron (figuratively) on your desktop is discounted. And it's not necessarily a case of one being better than the other-- I feel its a philosophical argument-- but rather how they complement each other.

At the bare mininum, to access the cloud, you will need... something on your desk or in your lap. Furthermore, you will need an access point to the cloud, whether a cable coming out of a wall, a wireless router or wimax. The cloud will never replace these essential pieces.

What the cloud represents to me is an advancement in data mobility. How much or little you dress it up in Flash or HTML is really beside the point. It's all about the availability of data and how best to route it to anyone that needs it.

So it caught my eye when Dan Farber wrote about 'The Cloud of Unrealibiliy'. He wasn't writing about how the UI had bugs, or that he had to download too many pieces-- it was that occassionally he couldn't get at his data.

Sure systems will become more reliable over the years, but the question will remain the same-- how best to transfer your data. It may not even be reliability that is the issue in 2015, but whether your data can get from point A to point B. The railroads of the 1800s come to mind. As we move towards corporations having a greater hand in the delivery and storage of data, I wonder if the cloud will really become a series of weather systems.

In which case your data will benefit from having alternate modes of travel-- sort of a revamped Planes, Trains and Automobiles for bits.

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