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I have had the opportunity in recent days to read some of the older PCA magazines lying around. This opportunity was forced upon me rather than voluntary. One of the subjects read was on the use of Cloud Computing rather than having data stored on the PC at home. The suggestion was that a need for space was reduced, security good and the modern internet speeds could make acessibility pretty much as fast as having the data at home. This latter caused a wry smile as my 'phone line (both 'phone and broadband) had been out for some time and the BT engineer(s) were having some difficulty in identiying the fault - partly because the built in test equipment at the exchange was also failing to function correctly.
Whilst I accept there was occassional access, this was random, very slow and for indeterminate periods. As a result there was no possibility of making a 'phone call as it may be cut off at any time and internet usage was impossible with recorded speeds as low as 3.5KB/s! Hence the time for magazines.
One thing this period has done though is to confirm to me that the Cloud may be suitable for storage of some data for some people, but for me uninterrupted use as a home PC it would be a somewhat risky way of using computing in everyday work.
From time to time we all experience outages even with the best ISPs. It is this that has convinced me that 'up in the clouds' is definitely not for me.
I accept that you can access the cloud from any 'connected' pc but if I was going to be away from home/office and it was important to have access to files I'd have them on a USB portable hard drive.
I love Dropbox, I can access my files anywhere I have even added my Favourites folder so that if I add a site on one PC it is there instantly on another.
But most cloud storage systems also have a copy on your PC so you always have access whether you are connected to the web or not.
For personal use, cloud computing is only really useful as a backup, as domestic ADSL contracts do not include any kind of service level agreements, so you can't guarantee connections.
I use Gmail, which has been astonishingly reliable. I can only remember 3 outages of more than an hour since I signed up as a beta tester in 2004. If my home ADSL is out of action I can check emails on my phone, a fast connection is not needed to check emails.
For companies cloud computing is a real benefit, as they can arrange a service level agreement with both their internet access provider and the cloud computing provider.
The cost of off site hosting for data and applications can be significantly cheaper than buying servers, warranties, on-site maintenance contracts and IT staff.
My last but one employer was an early adopter of this approach. When their servers needed replacing they decided not to buy new ones at a cost of £20k+ and instead rented a server in a data centre for £250 a month, this included software updates. They had to pay for the software obviously, but the data centre did testing prior to installation, which was always done out of hours. The £250 a month may seem expensive for rental of a couple of servers, but it's much less than the salary of the IT guy who'd just left to go back to uni
Pine Man & alan14
I agree ISPs will suffer problems, but mine was a BT telephone line fault which took some time to resolve (even BT quote 72 hours for the remedial action) and offers no opportunity to use any other resource. As I said in my post it may suit some as a simple storage medium.
Cloud Computing ~ Early days as yet, but it will come to the masses, eventually.
Still needed: Reliable access outside the Metropolitan Areas and reliable Biometric Identification
I tried BT's Cloud service yesterday. After signing up etc. had a little difficulty accessing the site but nevertheless managed to upload 2Gb of files. Later on I tried to "share" these files. Complete failure ! For some unexplained reason I could nor share the mp3 files. I uploaded a jpg file as a test, OK, that would share. Tried contacting BT, 10 minute min delay. No email contact, Tried the BT Cloud forum for help, useless ! Tried to get back into the BT Cloud, AAAHHHH frustration ! Today I scrubbed all the BT files off my HD .No more cloud cuckoo land for me thank you.
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