Cloud update - and how Apple still doesn't get it

Cloud update - and how Apple still doesn't get it

Summary: I've been doing some research into cloud, the wheres, hows and whys, and it's thrown up some interesting (if not spectacularly surprising) results.On the face of it, and if you're taken in by the hype, cloud is the next wave of technology before which we should all genuflect.

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TOPICS: Networking
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I've been doing some research into cloud, the wheres, hows and whys, and it's thrown up some interesting (if not spectacularly surprising) results.

On the face of it, and if you're taken in by the hype, cloud is the next wave of technology before which we should all genuflect. But lets get this into perspective. Research forecasts predict that cloud computing will only represent about 10 percent of global enterprise technology spending in the longer term, with most of it going on the kinds of stuff it does now.

The one-to-one relationship which is the simple way of presenting cloud will be rare, by which I mean the idea of one company having one relationship with one cloud provider. It'll be a lot messier than that, as cloud providers will offer different services at different price points and in different geographies. Even smaller companies, who are the most likely to adopt one provider for all their IT services, are likely to buy in services from elsewhere as well. Dropbox anyone?

Expect to see cloud providers specialising in particular areas in terms of services, verticals, and geographies. Yes, geography still matters, as you do still care about where your data lives. Heard the story about how, under the US Patriot Act, the FBI ripped out an entire rack of servers in a datacentre just in order to grab one of them? All the service provider's other customers in that rack were seriously affected even though they had nothing to do with it. And there are legal stipulations on data location too.

Underneath all this there's a lot of centralising going on. Amazon Web Services (AWS) along with Rackspace is one of a handful of big cloud infrastructure providers. There's there's likely to be fewer of those over time, and they'll be big. On top of their infrastructure, other companies are building what the trade jargon calls over the top (OTT) services. For example, Dropbox's data lives on AWS kit. Who knew?

On top of the likes of AWS, service providers will increasingly build mash-ups of services from other providers. This is happening already of course. You can already find applications that bring together data from diverse sources and present it in new and useful ways. It will get easier as the tools mature, making this development methodology faster, cheaper and far more prevalent. All this needs open APIs to allow developers to grab data and make use of it, and organisations such as The Open Mashup Alliance are working in this direction.

But cloud, while an important element of any company's IT thinking, needs to be kept in perspective. Use it when it's appropriate, not when it's not, and don't be swept along by the hype. In other words, research it.

Of course, there are still some companies, like Apple, who really don't get the power of cloud. Ever tried syncing an iPhone to two separate computers? Can't be done without a good deal of chicanery, goat sacrifices and widdershins dancing, as the experience of a good friend attests. If instead, Apple used a cloud-based repository as Google does for Android...

Topic: Networking

Manek Dubash

About Manek Dubash

Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger.


As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites.


I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceovers, event moderation, you name it...


Back story
An IT journalist for 25+ years, I worked for Ziff-Davis UK for almost 10 years on PC Magazine, reaching editor-in-chief. Before that, I worked for a number of other business & technology publications and was published in national and international titles.

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3 comments
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  • Bull $#!^

    The one paragraph you have about Apple is total BS. It is easy to sync an iphone to two different computers as long as you use the cloud. Both computers have the same Apple ID, the phone has the same AppleID and presto everything is sync'd. Applications, music, contacts, calendars, and even TV shows, and movies all are available or downloaded to all three devices depending on your choice to do so.

    Sure, you can't plug your iPhone into two computers and auto sync, but this whole article is about the cloud and if you use the cloud it all does sync. (for mobileMe subscribers it has done this for 5 years now).
    DougPetrosky
  • Nope, it's completely correct, Solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive allow ou to simply drag and drop files into a folder, which syncs with the servers. iCloud does not have this feature. It will also delete certain file types such as folders after 30 days.
    anonymous
  • @puggsly--

    The lack of the usual volumes of manic vitriol, which an article like this would generate from the Apple worms, is proof enough of Manek's point. You are the only one to show up. Are the worms tacitly agreeing with Manek, by not saying anything? Looks like it.
    Read James Chan's comment.
    Learn more, even though it probably makes your brain hurt.
    Warmest regards...
    bakerdriver