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Is the Cloud Getting in the Way of Blue Sky Thinking?

November 18, 2010

One of the big buzz words around the IT world lately has been the ‘Cloud‘ and it really has been taking the world by storm (no pun intended).  As IT as an industry continues to grow and mature we’re seeing lots and lots of new trends and technologies that seem to come and go – some have been evolutionary, some revolutionary and others just over-hyped.

So where does all this Cloud business fit in then?  In my opinion, it’s just evolutionary.  It’s no big deal.  Sure, it will change the way we do things but on its own it’s not going to revolutionise the way we do things.  The way I see it, it was always going to be the next logical step.  We used to have computers with data on them.  Then we put the data on an internal network.  And now we’re going to put the data on a public network; the Internet, oops sorry, I mean the Cloud as it is now known.

Now, if I resurrect a buzz word from a couple of years back; virtualisation, and combine it with the Cloud, then things start to get a little more interesting.  I don’t mean to imply that virtualisation isn’t big and relevant today – it truly was revolutionary when it emerged as a viable technology and now that it’s mainstream we just take it for granted.

But I’m not talking about just server virtualisation now.  We’ve long since established the concept of Application Virtualisation and more recently we’ve coined the phrase User State Virtualisation, which is really just the same old roaming profiles and redirected folders that we’ve had forever.  And let’s not forget yet another buzz word (or buzz acronym); VDI.  Again, another technology I rate as evolutionary, not revolutionary, but let’s not get into that.  The concept of virtualising the desktop is the interesting part.  It’s all really about abstracting all these layers.

So if we just take a step back and look at this plethora of new technologies and concepts that have been floating around for a few years, I think we can see a general direction of where things are going.  The next logical step I see here is that now we’ve got our data in the Cloud and we’re starting to put our infrastructure in the Cloud, it’s really about getting our virtual applications and desktops in the Cloud, too.

Now I said before that if we combine virtualisation and the Cloud things get more interesting but I still think there’s something missing.  And no one’s going to see it if the damn Cloud keeps blocking our attempts at some good old fashioned blue sky thinking.  Pun intended.

Microsoft are well underway with Windows 8 now and from leaked slides and whatnot we know that there will be a big focus on the Cloud, especially around application delivery – or an online ‘App Store.’  Apple have a Mac Store coming up in their new Mac OS due out soon, and have had a hugely successful App Store for iPod, iPhone and iPad for years now.  None of this stuff excites me nor strikes me as revolutionary.  Stuff like using a fullscreen Citrix Desktop session on an iPad is pretty cool.  I like that and the whole mobile computing space is clearly the way of the future, but I think it’s time someone came up with some real innovation or are we never going to have any more truly revolutionary creations since the Personal Computer, the Internet and email?

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