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So Microsoft was asleep at the wheel and didn’t use good procedures to backup and restore Sidekick data. It was just a matter of time until we saw a breakdown in cloud computing. Is this the end to cloud computing? Not at all! I think it is just the beginning. Are we going to see other failures? Absolutely! These failures are good, because they help sensitize potential consumers of cloud computing on what can go wrong and what contractual obligations service providers must adhere to.
There is so much impetus for having centralized computing, that I think all the risk and downside will be outweighed by the positives. On the positive side, security, operational excellence, and lower costs will eventually become mainstream in centralized services. Consumers and corporations will become tired of the inconvenience and high cost of maintaining their own computing facilities in the last mile.
Willie Sutton, a notorious bank robber, is often misquoted as saying that he robbed banks "because that’s where the money is." Yet all of us still keep our money with banks of one sort or another. Even though online fraud statistics are sharply increasing , the trend to use online and mobile banking as well as credit/debit transactions is on a steep ascent. Many banking experts suggest that this trend is due to convenience.
Whether a corporation is maintaining their own application servers and desktops, or consumers are caring and feeding for their MAC’s and PC’s the cost of doing this, measured in time and money is steadily growing. The expertise that is required is ever increasing. Furthermore, the likelihood of having a security breach when individuals care for their own security is high.
The pundits of cloud computing say that the likelihood of breakdowns in highly concentrated environments such as Cloud computing servers is high. The three main factors they point to are:
- Security Breaches
- Lack of Redundancy
- Vulnerability to Network Outages
I believe that in spite of these, seemingly large obstacles, we will see a huge increase in the number of cloud services and the number of people using these services in the next 5 years. When we keep data on our local hard drives, the security risks are huge. We are already pretty much dysfunctional when the network goes down, and I have had plenty of occasions where my system administrator had to reinstall a server or I had to reinstall my desktop applications. After all, we all trust the phone company to give us a dial tone.
The savings that can be attained are huge: A Cloud Computing provider can realize large savings by using specialized resources that are amortized across millions of users.
There is little doubt in my mind that cloud computing will become ubiquitous. The jury is still out as to what companies will become the service providers. However, I don’t think Microsoft will be one of them, because their culture just doesn’t allow for solid commitments to the end user.
 The Beauty in Redundancy, http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/12/the-beauty-in-redundancy/?scp=2&sq=sidekick&st=cse
 Microsoft Project Pink – The reason for sidekick data loss, http://dkgadget.com/microsoft-project-pink-the-reason-for-sidekick-data-loss/
 Willie Sutton, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Sutton.
 Online Banking Fraud Soars in Britain, http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/oct2009/gb2009108_505426.htm?campaign_id=rss_eu
 RSA Online Fraud Report, September 2009, http://www.rsa.com/solutions/consumer_authentication/intelreport/10428_Online_Fraud_report_0909.pdf