I've been reading about this Cloud computing for a few months. Yes I said months. I'm not a tech person, I'm an accountant who likes to write about stuff. That said I became interested in the mystical cloud because of the ongoing failures of the technology I was using and data loss as result of technology failure and theft.
Tech Failure – Work
I use two Oracle applications plus MS Office at work. One of those applications crashes or gets "hung up" in some weird loop where: Java scripts don't run correctly (whatever those are) Java forms don't load correctly (whatever those are), the server connection is "lost". Of course these failures always happen when I'm on a proverbial roll. Of course these failures only occur with what I'm trying to do and… Of course my tech support, God Bless them have worked my problem every which way to Sunday. When the failures occur now I rarely report them because it appears (in my logic) it is the way in which I use this particular app. I don't open and close things, I leave them all open and switch between tasks (and refuse to do it any other way). Opening and closing is slow, cumbersome and ineffective considering my workload. It's faster for me to shut it down, bring it back up and keep it moving until the next crash. That said there are some things that I do know. There are some peak times when there are multiple users doing multiple processes that serve to tax the application and the server it runs on. There are some other logistical, fiscal, procedural and resources issues that preclude my organization from getting full power from these apps. Frustration runs high, at the same time, users (including myself) are demanding more capabilities for which we just don't have the capacity to make happen.
Tech Failure – Home
I have a Toshiba Satellite with Vista. I hate it, it's weird, buggy and always gives me that spinning wheel when it's trying to do something. I've been using a PC since Windows 2.0 I think. Anyone would say I should know better by now, get a clue and get a Mac. I just might after this latest debacle. My Vista wouldn't load Tuesday night. I got stuck in the continuous restart mode. I Googled the problem. Tried some of the fixes and they didn't work. I took that puppy to the shop. The latest is that there was some update that resulted in registry errors (what does that mean???) Fortunately my hard drive is in good shape and there was no raging virus on it. My geeks at the shop said I could get Windows 7 for $200.00 I said, just reload Vista let me pay you and give it back. I did a full back up after reading a blog post by @LeReg on Twitter. Glad I did. I didn't do much between Friday and Tuesday but do fear that I have lost some photos and music and my exercise log in Excel. Frankly I'm tired of losing my data.
The Theft Problem
It's been well noted on my other blogs that I had a major burglary in my life. Years and years of photos, writing, music were gone in one fell swoop. I would back up to zip drives and CDs every now and then and later to flash drives. But the majority of my data was held on two computers which are now gone gone gone. I did receive a lovely Western Digital Passport (learned my lesson) as a birthday gift and I do use it but my backups usually occur about every two weeks. I know it's important but gosh I just don't dig doing it, AT ALL. The technology failures, user failures (me), theft and data loss have all but forced me to…
What I figured out is that it's not really all that mystical and makes a whole lot of sense. The biggest thing for me is that it takes the burden of hardware and software support off organizations IS groups and shifts it to the cloud host, who has the software, the hardware and the support to handle it all. They have to have back ups of the backups to stay in business, it is THEIR business. It all takes he burden off the finance/accounting teams who have to find money and beat the clock on expiring licenses, hardware failures. It also takes the burden off of HR professionals who have to look for people to come in house and take care of everything that goes wrong. Is it really this simple? I don't know from a technical perspective but as a user, this is an absolute no-brainer. Yeah I'm sure there are security concerns and proprietary concerns in the sense that organizations may not be comfortable with letting go of their processes but those (in my opinion of course) are not deal breakers. The question really is how best to move your organization forward and improve your processes, I think moving to the Cloud should be a definite consideration, especially if the current means of getting things done is proving ineffective.
On a personal level. As long as I've been using Gmail I've been using the Cloud. All of it is web based. I have a gang of storage that I don't think I'll ever use. I also use Google Docs and am writing this in Evernote. My dream is that all of my electronic content be housed in the Cloud and that every application I'd ever want to use is in the Cloud. I don't want to worry about backups or requiring massive capacity on my machine. I want to know that what I'm doing right now will STAY regardless of the circumstances of the machine it was created on.. I want to be relieved of the requirement for massive storage on whatever machine I use or having to purchase some peripheral storage device. I don't want to buy or get for free any application that requires loading onto my machine, outside of the Browser and operating system.
Yeah my head is in the Cloud alright, I see the Cloud as a means of living the digital simple life. Is that too much to ask?
Cloud graphic from lonewolflibrarian.wordpress.com