So often these days, we hear about software, tools, and even hardware vendors releasing products that allow designers to build products in the cloud. That sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Well, not for me. To be honest, I'm not sure what that means, so I put this question to our loyal reader community: When you hear "design in the cloud," what does that mean to you?
The first response came from Michael Grillo:
I think you will find that you will be sharing your design on a single platform from a single port where others have access. Your desktop or server becomes the link through the Internet and you operate from the same portal as others. We have been on the cloud in our business for some time and there are slight differences and noticeable functional changes, advantages, and disadvantages. But like any other tool or program, it just takes a while to get familiar with the inner workings. One thing for sure is don't forget to save your changes often. There is no recovery in the data entry area for a quick back-up button like you might find in the program you are working with -- you make a change in some areas and it is changed. Security and speed has been what was promised.
Not fully understanding, I asked Grillo what exactly was promised by the concept of cloud computing. His response was this:
In our industry, we have to maintain strict confidence and information. Access to our files is limited to the standard passwords and usernames but there are also firewalls in place to keep others out. We have not had a breach or even attack on the files because they are also stored differently than each server or desktop. When using the cloud, storage of information is broken down into blocks and fields so there is a security in the fact that data is stored in a separate area than where other information is stored.
He also told us:
All this is great; but if you have the password and the username you would then have the access; which makes the security issue one still at the individual level. I am not sure one can get away from the person who does not guard the password and username, or one that would want to steal a design and/or let someone else view the information. I am sure hackers could get into the cloud just as they could your server. They have knowledge, ability, and time, but the storage does make it more difficult to find and assimilate the information. Firewalls can work, but again the weakness is down at the employee level.
The bottom line is that we have not experienced a problem as of yet. We have been on the cloud two years going on three.
And from reader Andy Braverman:
From my perspective as a product development consultant, when a client asks for a "design in the cloud," from their perspective it means they don't want any physical hardware to buy and maintain. They simply want a solution that can be addressed via a Web interface with all the "hardware" housed and maintained somewhere where they don't have to worry about it.
Readers, how would you answer this question? Tell us in the comment section below.
The cloud sounds a lot like a remote server, only not all in one place. Using a program of some kind that resides someplace else, and storing files in a manner that probably does not allow them to be accessed except through that particular program, and really not having any way to really know just where those files actually are, or who else may wind up with access to them, that is what the cloud sounds like to me. A great idea "except for a few small problems", and having to pay somebody for services that may or not have a value great enough to justify what we are paying.
So my evaluation of "the cloud" is perhaps a bit less trusting than many. After all, the cloud undoubtedly uses a few "buggy" programs from that company with thye buggy reputation.
"I'm just trying to preach the understanding that the "The Cloud" is merely the growth of the internet phenomenon"
Jim, you are right. It's another offering from IT due to its potential growth. Eventhough we are using cloud offerings in different ways (Gmail, Picasso, Google doc etc), now only peoples started marketing the buzz word "Cloud".
I have learned that –( In general ) – the more prolific or pervasive a phenomenon becomes, that the "public masses" will latch onto anything that more easily helps them to understand it better.
Case in Point: have you seen the newest Verizon TV commercials that depict 4G connectivity from a smartphone-? It shows a laboratory of scientists in white jackets pulling the proverbial Dr. Frankenstein electro-lever to unleash a bolt of lightning into the anxious, waiting 4G customer's new smartphone.
Ridiculous. The lightning bolt must have come from "The Cloud".
If I may, let me ask--do you see the cloud; i.e. cloud computing, being the direction engineering documentation is going? I retired from a Fortune 500 company and we had bank after bank of storage for our CAD data--drawings, sketches, etc etc. Accessing that storage was not that difficult but when all of the CAD files migrated to India, it really became a problem. Access was take a number. How would the cloud alleviate that problem or would it?
Bob, we are using cloud in our company for various purposes. One example is we had hosted our design service in a central server and all the design engineers can access, modify or reprint the design modules through internal cloud.
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