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What happens when the "cloud" starts to precipitate? A hard rain's agonna fall . . .

I use a lot of online services and I try to push as many applications as I can into the cloud. This means that I can work from anywhere on virtually any computer device.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor
I use a lot of online services and I try to push as many applications as I can into the cloud. This means that I can work from anywhere on virtually any computer device. I don't need a personal computer (but I do need a personal cellphone - the new PC.) It works for me, but there are a lot of enterprises that don't want to use anything in the cloud and prefer to keep everything inside the firewall. Some enterprises are, well, a bit more enterprising and are willing to use online services, at least dipping a toe in the water. However, I'm wondering if this tentative trend to use services beyond the firewall might be harmed by a small number of misbehaving web services companies. I've already had to retrieve some of files from video hosting web services companies because they changed their business models. And with one I forgot to get my files and now cannot--my fault I guess. But what about web service companies that go bust or just disappear--along with their customer data? I think we will be seeing these types of failures more and more simply because the markets aren't large enough to support so many web services companies. Its the same as rain falling from a cloud that has cooled and cannot holds its droplets. Life is getting tough for web services companies because of their numbers and because most of them rely on advertising based business models. The online ads market is going south right now--which will further strain the weaker players. A weaker economy is certain to seed some precipitation in the "cloud." If consumers and companies start getting burned by such experiences, it will not bode well for the rest of the market. And if we do see more failures it will be bad for smaller web services companies because business customers will either move out of the market, or move to larger companies such as Google, that can offer the stability of a better capitalized provider--and not necessarily a better service. Here is the experience of a friend of mine, Debbie Rich, who is having problems retrieving her company's data from a web service called Stikipad. This her story in her own words from her Ferocious Pixie blog:

Ferocious Pixie

On a tear to hunt down my data again for my software company. The quote/unquote company Stikipad.com that was hosting my company's historical and lead data is still AWOL and the 'president' of the company continues to duck calls, posts and emails regarding giving me access to that data. I don't even care about getting back our payment -- the hosting cost was minimal -- but i have a TON of info that i really need and will take weeks to reproduce, if that is even possible.

Amazingly, surprisingly, startlingly, all of the projects listed on his blog are down. The website links churn and think and then give a 'server is temporarily down' response. Gee, what does that remind me of... let me think... it's coming... Oh, the lameass Stikipad site that stopped working months ago.

Jonathan George, jonathan@jdg.net, www.jdg.net, be a normal person and contact me with information about what you are going to do, or at least give me an apology. Now I'm off to start using Google Docs like everyone else. Just shows that you can't always support the small companies, which is really a shame.

ferocious pixie: Stikipad and Jonathan George are still lame asses
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