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The Cloud

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on Sept 11, 2007. It is being re-run as Steve is on holiday. 

I was interested to hear about Microsoft providing some services and storage in the "Cloud." I remember hearing about Amazon making disk space and computing services available to users.

So is this the next big thing for us? Microsoft's push of cloud services including software, storage, and more?

I'm not sure if it is, and I'm not completely sure what to make of it. Amazon's storage service might make some sense as a backup of your photos since it's not likely that you'd lose your hard drive and Amazon would lose theirs at the same time, but it could happen.

The worrisome thing is that while Amazon or Microsoft might tout their service as reliable, fault tolerant, etc., but the reality is that your 2GB or 4GB of stuff isn't valuable to them. They're not going to go through too many hoops to get that data back.

And if it's gone, it's gone.

Things always fail. Just think about the recent WGA problems, a service that you'd think that Microsoft would make sure is always working.

I think that the cloud computing makes some sense for a Windows Live type of service. If I could have the latest version of Word or Excel in the cloud, with local (automatic, hint, hint) backups made to my local device, that's pretty cool. Installing new versions of Office are a pain, especially when I almost never use Access, Powerpoint, or anything really beyond Word or Excel.

It would probably install some crazy ActiveX type DLLs and make my system just as flaky as it is now. But since I reboot about once a month when I get patches (or lose power ), maybe that isn't so bad.

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