Last week I was trying to download the newest system software for my iPod, when I saw the advertisements about Apple’s so-called iCloud and I remembered that I had actually read an article about it in The Economist.
Now I was wondering, what is iCloud?
What is Cloud Computing in general and how can businesses benefit from it?
To get to know more about the topic I revisited the article I had read in The Economist and learnt that for businesses the term cloud computing is nothing new but that iCloud is something which was design with an ordinary user in mind. Essentially it enables the user to download music from iTunes and send copies to it to all other Apples devices in one’s possession.
However, also music that was not bought at iTunes is synchronised. To know more about the profit Apple expects from this application I searched for some numbers that would tell me about revenue, but instead, I learnt that people were concerned about the fact that the music does not need to be bought from iTunes, therefore, could also be illegal pirated music.
To lessen the impact on major music companies, after CNET news, Apple is said to be actually giving 58% of future profit to them.
Now, if your are interested in iCloud, feel free to visit Apple’s own press release, but I was much more interested in what cloud computing could do for businesses.
I searched for cloud computing on YouTube and found this gorgeous video by SalesForce.com, a company that was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executives and that distributes business software on a subscription basis.
Even though this video was very positive in regards to Cloud Computing which is only natural, because they are a company wanted to sell us their services, I found out that the more appropriate term for Cloud Computing for companies would be Enterprise Cloud Computing.
It essentially means that instead of buying single software applications for every single business, one can use the ones which are distributed in the so-called cloud which everybody can access using the internet.
Jill Tummler Singer, the CIO for the American National Reconnaissance Office, one of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies explains that Enterprise Cloud Computing is saying that “Enterprise cloud computing is a controlled, internal place that offers the rapid and flexible provisioning of compute power, storage, software, and security services to meet your mission’s demands.“
She is arguing that Enterprise Cloud Computing improves the agility, sustainability, survivability, and security of IT in a company and therefore, also makes them able to get a higher profit because they not need to care so much about updates and new products.
On the other hand, I found a post by Jian Zhen, who is the Director of Cloud Solutions at VMware and who is responsible for working with the world’s largest service providers to design cloud infrastructures and platforms. In his blogpost, he says that there are still some challenges to cloud computing, namely data governance, manageability, monitoring, reliability and availability and of course security.
He points to the fact, that only the provider of these clouds, for example Amazon, Google and SaleForce can control most of his named challenges.
Zhen argues that Enterprise Cloud Computing will be the next big thing; however companies should be more included in order to find out what really is helpful.
There are people like Steve Crawford who is the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Jamcracker, who tells us that to deal with the issue if managing and consuming a lot of different types of cloud computing one would need co-called ‘cloud services brockerages’ (CSB) which will help to disburden the IT department in a company, so that it can concentrate on real projects instead of just doing the computer system maintenance.
Stephen Wunker, founder of New Markets Advisors, an Ipswich, Massachusetts-based consulting firm, claims that there’s a big opportunity for startups and emerging businesses, especially, when taking into consideration the newly created iCloud by Apple.
“The most intriguing aspect of iCloud may be the new business model it opens up. Because the service can link a user’s static content to dynamic information around time of day, location, and ad inventory, it can stream relevant ads that monetize opportunities which were previously revenue-free. Apple’s talent in leading people to engage with content longer than they do with rivals’ devices can create serious new streams of profit for the company.”
I personally think that Cloud Computing will help safe a lot of money and it will be especially useful for smaller companies which can use all the services and application in a cloud for a consistent monthly or yearly fee. Also, there is the possibility of creating one’s own enterprise to help organise the cloud.
Very important for most people is the fact that in case of lost data or an accident where normally, data would be untraceable, the company has all the important information stored in the cloud.
The only problem I can see, is that one needs to be sure that data security is given and that there needs to have internet in order to have access to one’s data.
Tell me what you think about the cloud? The future of business applications or just an unnecessary tool?