Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Trends 2007: Cloud Computing

This trend is not so new, but has gained a lot of currency lately, from Google pushing both apps and data in the Internet to Microsoft responding in kind.

One way to summarize the two approaches is to note quotes from Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

Web 3.0 will ultimately be seen as applications that are pieced together which are relatively small, the data is in the cloud, apps can be run on any device (PC or mobile), apps are very fast, very customizable, apps distributed virally by social networks and email, not store bought. It's a very different application model from the mainframe era and PC industry, likely to be very large, low barrier to entry, new generation of tools being introduced by Google and others make it relatively easy to do, solves a lot of problems, and works everywhere.
Compare these statements to Ray Ozzie in his recent analysts meeting:

Seamless Office scenarios that span the PC, the Web and even the phone. Documents that go wherever you want them, news scenarios, sharing scenarios, meeting scenarios, note-taking, presentation scenarios that use PCs for they're really good for for document creation and editing and review. That use the web for what it's really good for: publishing and sharing and universal access. They use the phone for mobile access that extends your PC-based and Web-based activities to wherever you go....
Finally for developers, the services opportunity lies really in the breadth and character of the this new type of platform. At the back end, the promise of services for developers is the promise of utility computing in the cloud...
Both of these quotes reflect that applications and data are not just local, Google embracing the "everything in the cloud" approach more aggressively, looking to unseat the PC-centric status-quo, with Microsoft, still clinging a bit to its history and heritage, trying to have it both ways.Nevertheless, having data in a central place has large implications: chief among them is location independence, and as alluded to my both Google and Microsoft above, device independence.

Update: Cap Gemini is endorsing Google Apps
Add to this the notion of massive data centers, used by Google, copied by Microsoft, with Sun attempting to commericalize the concept. Amazon is making waves with its S3 and EC2 services, leveraging existing capacity to provide storage and computing power at very low barriers of entry.

This begs the question for individuals, startups, and large enterprises: how soon will true utility computing be a reality?

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