Cloud Nine

OK, I get it. The cloud is cool. Cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud. Say it loud, say it proud, I love the cloud. Cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud. A few weeks ago Apple announced the opening of their "cloud solution" (which, incidentally, is shaped like a $100 b...

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By Tim Hermes, BTR Founder and Publisher

OK, I get it. The cloud is cool. Cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud. Say it loud, say it proud, I love the cloud. Cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud.

A few weeks ago Apple announced the opening of their "cloud solution" (which, incidentally, is shaped like a $100 bill) which allows any user to store ALL their documents, video, movies, and files on the Apple system. That system, in case you didn't know, is "in the cloud." (The little secret is if you had an Apple "MobileMe or "me" account you've been able to do this for years...they just called it 'iDisk.')

Now if this up-take happens, (look for Microsoft to be next in line,) in a few years most terminals and laptops will simply become "dumb" computers which simply access the cloud so any terminal anywhere can jump on and grab any file you want from your cache, stream your video, grab your PowerPoint presentation or the nifty Excel spreadsheet you've been working on for months.

Amazon has a cloud app now...smart move. It's not just storage, but actual real-time work and interaction you can do. My juggernaut of a company drives efficiency with several cloud applications like SalesForce.com, GoogleDocs, and Proposable.com. There are huge upsides to the cloud, besides rain. Multi-users on one document, real-time changes to same, unlimited (almost) memory, and of course, access from anywhere and from any device that can download and stream.

Until your Internet access goes on the fritz. Or, even worse, some 15-year old hacker decides to get cute and bring down the Apple (or MS, or whatever) service and proceeds to wipe out all the data drives.

You see, even if your personal documents are in the cloud, they still reside on a server. The cloud doesn't mean your data is floating in, uh, the clouds. It is resident on a server farm somewhere. And servers crash. Of course those servers have back up servers. But what if you needed to back up your data, and it wasn't "automatically backed up," and "bighacker06" in Cleveland decides to get cute? I fear, I fear, dear Cloud.

So it would take a leap of faith for us digit-heads to go all the way and cut the cord with our resident hard drives. At least for now. But I will say on the application side, the cloud kicks butt. On the data storage side, however, I'll kick the tires for now (Full disclosure: I DO have a Me account that saved me last week) but the solid, comfy feeling of my back-up drive humming along next to my iMac still is my security blanket...at least for the next few years.

Tim Hermes is CEO at BTR. Contact him at tim@broadbandtechreport.com.

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