Thanks for the perspective on the cloud, Jordan. I especially like your points about security. It has long been a misunderstood aspect of the cloud and often used as an excuse by companies not to implement it. In the meantime, as you point out, more and more data and apps are moving to the cloud. I agree that the cloud has a lot if benefits for designers, particularly in the area of collaboration.
Glad you found the article enjoyable Elizabeth. :) Yes, I think that eventually many companies will have to implemenet at least some sort of cloud solution, if only to be able to communicate with other companies that already have. I've used Lagoa to collaborate with another render artist on a scene, and it was remarkable how nice it was to be able to work together on a 3D render; it's a bit like one of those things where you don't know you can't live without it until you have it. :)
It's true that the cloud has many benefits. For many, having a choice during the transition would be helpful.
It's not fear as much as lack of information that leads to people reject working in cloud based applications. If companies could provide seamless transitions, great. But most don't. I'd love to go back to an older, non-cloud based, version of itunes. I can't. I have no options and the cloud based version isn't as easy to navigate.
I'm rejecting it not out of fear but out of frustration.
Yes, shehan, but as I say in my comment (and as it says in the article), I think these concerns are sometimes unfounded and perhaps people should take a different view of security and the cloud, a view that might cause them to rethink and adopt it.
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The fact that I choose to not follow the crowd "down the garden path" does not mean that I am afraid. Calling those who choose to not follow the crowd afraid is a typical bully tactic and has no place in a professional publication. The truth of the whole situation is that cloud computing is not what everybody needs and it will not be the correct choice for everybody. Some of us just do not need all of those highly touted benefits because they are not part of our normal operation.
One other point is that commiting to data storage on some cloud may be quite handy right now, but the fact is that if you don't know who is handling your data you have no clues as to how reliable they are, even if they are totally honest and don't examine your files every night. Trusting in the absolute reliability of totally unknown entities seems like it might not be the very best choice to make if ones data is either not replacable or very private.
So once again, it is not fear, and asserting that those refusing to join the crowd are being fearful is not only wrong, it is offensive. At least, I find it a bit rude. Others are free to do what they want, and I will certainly not call them names. But it may be in a while that I may say "I told you so."
The original title of the article was "The Cloud is Coming". Something must have gotten lost in translation. But, since what's done is done, I will respond to your comment under the assumption that the current title, "Don't Fear the Cloud, Embrace it." is the correct one.
You are correct, some people will not need the benefits offered by the cloud. In my opinion, there will always be a market for off-line programs. As an example, I am not upgrading my copy of Adobe CS5 to Adobe Creative Cloud, because I do not see their "cloud-based" (debatable) model offering me any benefits.
That being said, I also think that I and many people who say they do not need a cloud-based solution will end up having at least one cloud-based tool in their pipeline. That, and there are enough people out there who are looking for solutions to the problems that cloud-based technology solves, that it will become a popular mode of software consumption.
We are engineers and artists, and as such we never just use one tool - if something better comes along to assist us in accomplishing our task more efficiently and effectively, we will use it.
If you do not do any remote work collaboration at all, then you will surely not need a cloud-based app. However, if you do, something like SolidWork's Mechanical Conceptual (just announced this year at SWW 2014), or my company's software, Lagoa, would be a boon to your workflow.
I would not say that those who do not adopt are fearful, merely that they have fears (concerns) regarding the technology - some of those are well-founded (what happens if my Internet goes out or the service provider goes under), others are not. I am not saying those who choose not to adopt this technology are habitually fearful people, nor am I saying that they are "afraid" of the cloud, as if they were quaking in their boots at some onrushing storm.
If I were to say anything about "fear" in regards to new technology, I would say that as long as one is open minded about having their concerns answered, then it could be a useful emotion; it allows us to see problems before they arise in the real world.
I would go so far as to say that there are two kinds of people who do not adopt a new technology; those who do fear for it's implications (but are not necessarily fearful or afraid as individuals), and those who do not see a benefit for themselves. I have nothing against either, and I respect their right to choose the best platform for their goals.
I hope this clears things up. I apologize for offending you with the words I chose, but I do not feel as if the main thrust of the article (that the cloud is coming and will change the way many of us work) is incorrect.
Even if you do not adopt the technology, I imagine you will still be affected by it in some way. It's a bit like keeping a flip phone in these smart phone times; the older solution isn't necessarily wrong or even "outdated", but you will probably get at least a few picture texts where you're expected to have a smartphone to see them.
Jordan, thanks for the thoughtful reply. And if the article was translated then I would say that a bit did get lost in the translation.
But my position is that I see some potentially quite unhapply failure modes in cloud based computing, which you did mention two of them in your response. And it certainly is not an act of fear to elect to avoid a potential disaster. Several have stated that the problems that I see are not possible. But I would point out that that ship, the Titantic, was claimed to be unsinkable.
Unanticipated failure modes will always be difficult to predict.
By translation I mean on the way from my inbox to being posted on the page. I am a native English speaker. :)
I do think it's important for cloud companies to have some sort of very visible part of the Terms of Service that explicitly details what happens in the event of a permanent service outage (company going under, etc). I don't know of any who do, but I think it would help at least somewhat in assuaging people's concerns over "what if".
To your point about unanticipated failure modes; as it was famously put by a former defense secretary; "There are known knowns, and there are known unknowns. But there are also unknown unknowns". I think that cloud companies should plan for as many failure modes as they can, and be very communicative with their users about what their plans are for those failures.
Users, on the other hand, should be forgiving if an unknown failure mode comes up, or if a known failure mode occurs and the first few stages of disaster control aren't the most visible ones.
Software as a service is like a pact of trust between the user and the developer - more so than ever before. A user trusts the developer with their livelihood, and the developer trusts the user with the same.
It benefits everyone if we collaborate on solving these problems before they arise, and if/when they do, we try to stay as calm as possible and work towards a mutually beneficial solution.
Jordan, submissions come from all over and so do responses. And translation is not always possible, since some languages seem to have words for concepts that are not found elsewhere.
And as for the unanticipated misfortune, consider the destruction of the world trade center. Nobody associated with any sort of IT could have anticipated that, but it happened and a lot was destroyed forever. So unanticipated disasters, in a manner a bit similar to unanticipated business happenings, can't always be avoided. And in some cases only the perpetrators are guilty of doing anything wrong.
So while I see a few potential business changes that would suddenly cause users of the cloud some problems, that does not mean that a lot of folks won't benefit from using it, at least for a while.
There was a song back about 1960 titled "That's the way it goes", and one line fits here fairly well: "Where it ends nobody knows,(but if it does), That's the way it goes." Sorry that I have no clue about who sang or produced it, but it gt played a lot around the Detroit area at the time. It would be interesting if anybody else can recall any more about that song. It must have related to something that was important at the time, I guess.
@Willaim- Most companies are afraid to take risk of moving their data to cloud, I feel they should first move less confidential data and ensure they have backup simultaneously locally. Eventually they could migrate the rest of it when they feel it's safe.
Not being williingto take a risk on anything that does not provide any value is not a case of fear, it is a manifeatation of common sense.
Why in the world should I invest money in a system that offers no benefit to my organization while also having a number of potential risks? That is not the slightest bit logical, is it? Just because others who are not in a similar situation do something does not make it a good choice for me.
And Besides all of those reasons, not following the crowd aqnd not using conventional methods is the main reason that my business is rewarded for solving problems for others.
William K, I guess the article was meant for areas of design applications where different designers are working on a project. Definitely, if one does not need the cloud storage he does not need to follow the trend.
Even ten years ago, when I was working at a company with ties all over the world, we had a program that did the same things for us. I don't recall the name, but it included utilities on our computers and a server site someplace that I don't recall either. But we had written guarantees of file accessability and security.
Now I wonder just how much this cloud service costs, I am certain that none of it is free.
@William: Was it Dropbox? Many of these cloud services, including my company (Lagoa), operate on a "Freemium" model - basic use or limited storage is free, with a fee to use more than that. For instance, with Lagoa the program is exactly the same as the pay version, just with limited render time; with Dropbox, same thing, except you have a 2GB storage limit. So a lot of this stuff is free, at least to start with.
@tekochip: Interesting point. I'm not familiar enough with the networking fundamentals to properly address it, but I am curious as to the implications.
Jordan, I have no recollection of what that service/program was called. But it did function fairly well, and there were never any problems that I was aware of.
Of course we also kept files on our local computers, and then would do a "synchronize" after we were done working on something. So we did not need to wait for things to be uploaded. Those elsewhere who needed the files would send a message asking if chages were happening, or would happen, and a simple time and date check could identify when a new version was needed. So the updating was only done when it had to be, which saved huge amounts of bandwidth time. A file datestamp check takes only a very few seconds.
I definitely agree with the article, Cloud storage gives a more centralized approach towards things. One does not have to worry about distribution of data to various people, instead there is a common folder which everyone can follow comforably.
Also, with your hard drive you are never sure when all of the data might get corrupted. I mean for me personally, I have experienced loosing very important data, just because my windows got corrupted. I am sure many of us has gone through that same stage once in a while. With cloud storage, we certainly dont have to worry about that.
I think performance has to be balanced in as well. I worked at a company that required the parts library be on the server and the engineer not use a local copy. Whenever a design was opened locally all the parts in the design would have to be fetched over the network, slowing work for the engineer as well as everybody else on the network. It impacted system performance for the entire company. Yes, in a cloud system all of the library parts would be in the cloud, but in a similar fashion, every change at the workstation would require huge amounts of data to be sent to the workstation, slowing down everyone sharing the same Ethernet connection. Imagine the amount of data being sent to an engineering firm at 9AM every morning. I wouldn't be able to stream the morning news.
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