This post has been prompted by an unfruitful and very frustrating day in Sydney.
The whole world is cloud crazy at the moment but the use of the cloud has to be tempered with a bit of logic and a large dash of reality.
There are lots of components of a cloud system but there are two that are the most important.
Where is its stored information and how do I get at it.
The second component is probably the most important.
The information that you are storing in the cloud has its own level of problems, thoughts like security, vendor lock out and data exchange between clients of the cloud provider are the most basic that come to mind. Each of these components can have systems and policies applied to them that will protect the data and allow only authenticated and authorised access. Lock that in with a decent SLA then most businesses are relatively safe.
To me the biggest problem is access. Whether you are using mobile devices or fixed line connection to the internet, to access your cloud information is paramount. A medium size organisation of about 40 users can no longer rely on just ADSL2+, it has to have a substantially larger connection than that, with that increased connection capability goes the increase in monthly costs and if you want to add VOIP to the applications using the connecting then we are talking substantial monthly fees. A combination of cloud based services, Microsoft office 365 and VOIP would max out a serious connection and make the user experience pretty bad. When user have bad experiences then they start to bypass systems and policies.
The NBN may have a significant impact on this costing but in a lot of places gaining access to it is seriously years away. Most businesses have computers and server with gigabit network connection some of them even 10 gigabit connection so the bottleneck will definitely be the Internet connection. Even wireless is streets ahead when it comes to the speed difference in 3G and wireless connection. Maybe 4G will improve it but then there is the increase in data costs as well. 100 businesses connecting to one exchange using NBN predicted speeds are still going to get a 1/100 of the pipe going out to the Internet
The smart phone and tablets are taking over business but they rely on a stable connection to the Internet. This is where this rant came from. In Sydney, in 3 location, 5 bars on the 3G connection and I was having serious problems getting any information on the iPhone. In one location all I wanted to do was transfer money to my credit card to make a purchase and the connection to the bank timed out 3 time. I have heard there are similar problems in Melbourne and Brisbane.
These are serious problems with the 3G, 4G and fixed line networks and have to be addressed before any substantial take up of cloud technology can deliver a serious return on investment for most businesses. We want to use social media, cloud based applications and all of the other features being pushed at business but the main infrastructure cannot handle the load. This has to be fixed and soon.