Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Was Oracle right all along?

So often, we technology-people think that a technology will take off faster than it does, but we never quite see the total potential as it expands past the technology first-movers, so technologies rise slower than we think and yet their ultimate span can be astonishing.

I am sure we could all list a few here; mobile phones, the web, online software stores, iPads (25 million in 14 months, but I bet we are only scfratching the surface).

Meanwhile, the buzz around cloud services continues to grow and the cloud and cloud applications move from services like backup where they are the secondary source of data to being the main application and data storage.

Yesterday's announcement from Apple of the iCloud reinforces the expansion of the cloud to being your major storage-place and all remote devices are just the slaves to that cloud, with a lot of comments from people around the new Mac OS (Lion) looking like an iPad and questioning the need for a fully-fledged computing system on your desktop.  If you can move most of the storage and applications to the cloud, you can in thory limit the desktop (or perhaps we should forget desktop and discuss hand-held computing as mobile phones outsold PCs last year).

Sometimes it is worth looking at the past - who remembers the Oracle Network Computer and Intel NetPC?  Circa 1996, they said all we'd need was a device that can connect to data and applications elsewhere.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Computer

Looks like they were right all along, just around 15 years too early!

Of course, to make the cloud really take off, we need ubiquitus high-performance access to the Internet and complete safety and security.  Performance is not just broadband, but optimisation that solves the latency caused by distance (especially as now you have no way of knowing where your data is and how far it is from you to "the cloud").  That security has to be cloud-based itself as the travelling devices won't go through a traditional appliance, gateway or firewall.

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