The dramatic shift from software based computing to what is now popularly know as cloud computing is eminent. So could this be the end of Bill Gate?s Microsoft and its domination of the computer world? The answer is not directly yes but it is very possible. When come to the internet presence Microsoft could find itself far behind other giants like Google and the race is already on. Google’s search engine and productivity applications are among the early products of efforts to locate processing power on vast banks of computer servers, rather than on desktop PCs. Microsoft has released online software called Windows Live for photo-sharing, file storage, and other applications served from new data centers. Yahoo and others like Amazon are not left behind.
What is this cloud computing? Cloud computing is a computing paradigm in which tasks are assigned to a combination of connections, software and services accessed over a network. This network of servers and connections is collectively known as “the cloud.” Computing at the scale of the cloud allows users to access supercomputer-level power. Using a thin client or other access point, like an iPhone, BlackBerry or laptop, users can reach into the cloud for resources as they need them. For this reason, cloud computing has also been described as “on-demand computing.”
How will this new phenomenon affect country like Kenya? Having gained bad reputation as among the highest software pirating societies in the world, this could be a chance for us to shed off the bad and annoying tag. With cloud computing there will be no need for software; people will be able to get the resources needed on demand. The effective use of this technology will highly depends on how many people can access the internet, although there is indication that we users will also work offline The key word on this technology is the cost reduction and not the performance and if that is true then it is bigger news to a country where access of the internet is barely minimal. Actually the question we should be asking the policy makers is when will the cost of connecting to the internet becomes affordable? Once upon a time there were big talks about the Fibre Optic cable joining the country to the bigger world wide interaction. As far as I can remember this project was meant to be completed by June this year but from the look of things, I think we have a long way to go.
Let’s look at a few of the advantages:
- Cheap: The first batch of computers going to be released in the market in the next few months under this technology will no doubt be cheaper even to a country where cheap is relative. They will be sold first at US$199 coming down to US$ 99 after a short while.
- Easy to maintain: With the user not worried about the software maintaining the computers will not be an headache. Just relax and use your machine
Every silver lining there is a dark cloud. The chief drawbacks of cloud computing are
Reliability: At the moment the vendors cannot guarantee the reliability of the technology. With that in mind most big corporations are still on hold or adopting wait and see attitude but as noted by Linda Tucci Senior News writer at Searchcio.com ? Cloud computing will follow you everywhere? It is a great force and for sure no escaping it.
Security: The security of the data itself is a big problem. The data is stored a mile a way and with that the user is not in control of the data. Sensitive information about companies will be the hands of service providers and that is wow issue
Compatibility: Some of the applications available from the data centers might not be compatible with local settings and needs of the companies. For example payroll processing and financial reporting.
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