Mailbag: Your Thoughts on Cloud Computing
Last week, after Microsoft announced plans to offer a stripped-down version
of Office to run
in the cloud
, Doug asked readers what it would take for them to put their
files on the Web. Here's what you said:
A frontal lobotomy and a bottle in front of me.
In your article, you ask what it would take for a reader to put their
files in a cloud somewhere. My answer is: NOTHING. I wouldn't do it. I know
we're breeding a whole new generation that believes having your apps and files
in a cloud is supposed to be more appealing and secure than traditional methods,
but for me, I don't want my files to be the responsibility of anyone but myself.
If my Internet connection is down and I need to work, where are my files?
If the Web site where they are stored gets taken down or fails, where are
my files? If I have to access the Internet over dial-up, are my files really
accessible? If someone hacks the site hosting my files, are they still there,
and if so, are they all over the world, as well?
No thank you! I will keep my files safe, secure and backed up at my home
office and continue to use offline files when I travel. It's worked for me
for years, and with nine copies and regular tape backups (moved offsite every
week), I'll continue to have my files to work with when I need them and without
all the worries. For individuals who are comfortable with the possibility
of having their files unavailable, maybe it's a good thing. For myself, I
can't imagine giving my file storage and safety away. It's almost like asking
your best friend to mind your checkbook for you and make sure all your bills
are paid, too. I may trust them, but never that far.
I can't see myself using such capabilities in the near future. I have
100GB of information and backups that I manage securely between my three personal
computers. Growth rate is 1 to 1.5GB per month. Remote access has not been
an issue thus far as a flash drive and a laptop have proved sufficient for
data I need to access away from home.
I think cloud computing and Internet banking have some similarities. Why
do I manage my money over the Web? I have a written contract with the bank.
I can see my bank balance and my transactions at any time. I have access to
history. I know that I can withdraw my money whenever I need it. (The analogy
breaks down a bit here.) And I'm working with a firm that I can trust.
I'd want all of these things before storing my data in the cloud. I'd
also want to be able to 'back up' my files onto my personal computer whenever
And Floyd responds to another
reader's thoughts about Azure -- specifically, that people with dial-up
wouldn't be able to access the cloud OS:
Recently, Mike said that "dial-up...with today's large data transfer
requirements, is quite useless." I think Mike misses an opportunity for
dial up users in that Azure could be the perfect solution to these folks.
Why? Well, just like with the remote terminals we use here, the only bandwidth
that's needed is for updating those parts of the screen that change as the
user moves the mouse, opens a window, closes a window and so on. Since the
data is stored and worked on remotely, there would only be a couple of instances
where a large download of data would be required -- say, when printing a document
to a local printer or when saving a file to a local drive.
If Azure can provide me with cloud encryption for my files that I can
control, I say, "Bring it on!"
Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Doug Barney on November 06, 2008 at 11:52 AM