Cloud Computing – becoming mainstream?

A four page spread on Cloud Computing in last week’s Sunday Times magazine was an interesting event. The fact that a major piece of coverage was given to the concept was interesting in itself, but has Cloud Computing become sufficiently mainstream that a major newspaper is writing about it? Or is this the start of a process that will see more major coverage and thus more major take up as the bandwagon gains momentum (forgive any mixed metaphors which may have crept in there!)

Apart from pointing out the major advantages of working in the cloud, the article – to be fairly balanced, I am sure – also points out the perceived negatives; the principal one of which being the danger of the service provider going down and thus the enduser loosing data etc.

This is, of course, a valid point and one which is highlighted by the principal critics of cloud computing. The answer, in my view, is very straight forward – apart from the obvious that anyone embarking on a SaaS route needs to thouroughly research the market place and be satisfied with the credentials of the provider.

No – the answer to which I am referring is  comparing the position with the alternative. Take a typical SME that has half a dozen PC’s in the office – a server of sorts and possibly someone in the office with the grand title of IT manager whose main role is turning things on and off and ensuring that backups are taken every evening before the office shuts.

A familiar scenario, I am sure. How many times does it happen that either the backup doesnt work or – more seriously – noone notices that it hasn’t worked. It is sods law that the next time the server goes down it will be just after a failed backup (..that after all is one of the first rules of computing – disaster strikes when you are least prepared for it).

Doesn’t happen very often I hear you say – I bet it does. But the point is that the chances of that scenario becoming reality are a lot stronger than a wellfunded and organised Cloud provider going down with the loss of all data.

I appreciate that the above is an over simplication – but the point is that when critics point out possible negatives of Cloud Computing they should also compare with the alternatives.