Cloud computing has been hyped for the last decade+.
For those few of you haven’t heard of it and understand it, cloud computing is a computing-as-a-utility concept wherein compute (and storage) happens on systems which you may not own. That’s it.
So – now that we’ve been offloading our storage, computing, and other tasks to others in an on-demand manner, what is next?
When computing started, it was centralized, you worked on terminals (that communicated right back to the central machine), and did not “own” any of the work at your local work station.
Then we moved into the PC era where computing was done locally, and we only saved data to a server if “we wanted to be backed up”.
Now we’re moving back into a centralized (and distributed at the same time) computing environment where we can access the same document on our iPad and laptop and twelve other people can see it at the same time, too (eg Google Docs).
We are moving more and more toward ubiquitous computing – smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, servers, cars, everything we own is becoming computing-aware (also related: the “internet of things“).
What’s going to come after the cloud hype dies out and we’re back to “business as usual”? Well, other than some as-yet-unnamed term becoming the hot topic du jour – nothing. Computing hasn’t changed in the last 50 years except to become faster, smaller, and more prevalent.
Where computing happens will always depend on the given job at hand – we will centralize when it makes sense, we will distribute when it makes sense, and we will localize when it makes sense.
The real concern for the next decade is data security and integrity. It doesn’t matter where you store your data, or how you process it: if you cannot rely on its accuracy, integrity, and safety, it’s just so much noise.
If you can’t access it when you
want need, you’ve already lost.