Living in the cloud

Cloud computing is taking off. That’s like the first sentence of some recent “introduction” mumbo jumbo I wrote for some paper. There are of course different models of this.

One is to use all services that Google provides, which are entirely built on web applications. I don’t believe this is the right model.

That guy in the link was able to “survive” for a month, sure, but only because he had very boring things to do. The amount of stuff I have installed on the desktop are not going to be services anybody is going to provide any time soon. Besides, it is almost impossible to get people to change set habits to use a whole new set of cloud software. Are you kidding me? Change all the software you use? This is a no go.

The more promising model is virtual machine hosting, in other words, the Citrix on crack model. To a large extent, I already roll my own using Remote Desktop and an always-on machine. But much more useful is having a huge server farm hosting lots of virtual machines that belong to users … possibly sharing installed software and other redundant stuff. This is a “compatible” path, in that users will not see any difference from their desktop experience and so will adopt it. Once they adopt it, you can tweak the backend however you want to wean users off of the desktop. This is something that many companies are trying in different forms, and of course so is one particular large desktop OS manufacturer … that happens to have server software also, and which happens to support virtualization. So I wouldn’t write off said company just because there is a cloud.

Incidently, Google is now supporting offline mail because they find it necessary to support the blended cloud/offline experience.

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