Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Tim Fujita-Yuhas, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, AppDynamics Blog, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Is Cloud Computing the Wave of the Future?

Or should we stick to the devil we know?

Patrick Kiger's Science Channel Blog

Is Web-based cloud computing the wave of the future, or should we stick to the devil we know? The big player in cloud computing is Google, the online search, advertising, email, mapping and video behemoth, whose cumulative dominance of the Internet rivals Microsoft’s dominance in operating systems and applications software.

Hurricane … er, tropical storm Hanna probably was a bit of a disappointment to those of you who are extreme weather junkies, but storm-force winds or no, the brief downpour that we had in the Washington, D.C., area managed to knock out my little corner of the electrical grid. So I’m been compelled to camp out in the coffee shop of a nearby Borders bookstore and contend for one of the precious few three-prong outlets that are available for recharging the laptops and cell phones of the uprooted, information-starved horde. But enough of one man’s lament. Let’s turn instead to a more universal — or nearly so — problem: Microsoft Windows.

Believe it or not, there is a logical thread here, because Windows has a lot in common with the weather. Like the latter, everybody complains about the most kludgy, temperamental and ubiquitous of operating systems, while knowing full well that there’s nothing we can do about it. As I’ve written about previously, those woes have been exacerbated by the coming of the dreaded Windows Vista, with its annoying habit of continually asking permission to perform functions, its demands that we download new drivers for peripherals, and its capricious-at-best compatibility with software that doesn’t have “Microsoft” on the label. OK, so we could join the fringe that has defected to the Mac OS, but that would mean overcoming our aversion to expensive, unnaturally white computers, buying all new software and possibly even getting WWSJD (“What Would Steve Jobs Do?”) vanity license plates.

But now, there’s another possibility, a tantalizing vision of a future in which Windows — or the Mac OS — might no longer matter. A world in which we not only won’t have to worry about whether our software is compatible with our OS, but in which we won’t ever have to install any software again, period. A world in which we’ll be able to do just about everything we need, from updating a spreadsheet to editing digital photos, inside the borders of a platform-agnostic browser. I’m talking about cloud computing, in which software will actually run on distant Internet servers, rather than our PCs.

A harbinger: The big player in cloud computing is Google, the online search, advertising, email, mapping and video behemoth, whose cumulative dominance of the Internet rivals Microsoft’s dominance in operating systems and applications software. In 2006, Google introduced Google Apps, a service that offers a Web-based word processor, a spreadsheet program and other applications meant to challenge Microsoft Office. To go with them, it recently unveiled Google Chrome, an open-source alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. As InformationWeek writer Mitch Wagner explains:

Google wanted to build a new browser from scratch, designed specifically to be used with the new generation of Web applications. Many of those applications are, of course, Google's own: Gmail, Google Docs, Google Reader, and more. Google designed the browser to be lightweight, fast, have a minimalist user interface, and to resist crashing under the heavy JavaScript demands of Web applications.

As PC World reviewer Nick Mediati notes:

Chrome's design bridges the gap between desktop and so-called "cloud computing." At the touch of a button, Chrome lets you make a desktop, Start menu, or QuickLaunch shortcut to any Web page or Web application, blurring the line between what's online and what's inside your PC. For example, I created a desktop shortcut for Google Maps. When you create a shortcut for a Web application, Chrome strips away all of the toolbars and tabs from the window, leaving you with something that feels much more like a desktop application than like a Web application or page.

One doesn’t have to consult to see where this all could well lead. The beta release of Chrome, oddly, is only Windows-compatible; a Mac OS version reportedly is in the works — as is, more significantly, a version of Chrome for the free, open-source Linux OS. Envision a future in which your basic PC costs about as much as a bottle of Jägermeister and is even easier to use, a world in which you’ll never have to hear these sounds ever again.

But there’s a potential downside, as usual. If we all eventually tell Microsoft to stick it and turn to the Internet and Google as our operating system and our apps, are we only getting ourselves into the sort of situation that Pete Townsend might describe as “here’s to the new boss/same as the old boss”? It would make Google the most powerful company on Earth (if it isn’t already). A lot of critics already are worrying about Google’s ability to track and analyze what you do on the Web, and the uses to which it might put that information. (Here’s a 2007 study by the watchdog group Privacy International that is decidedly uncomplimentary.) And they were even less thrilled with the wording of Chrome’s end-user agreement, which, as Computerworld notes, originally contained

"a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through" the new browser.

Google subsequently deleted that clause, but you’ve got to wonder what they had in mind when they put it in.

So, what do you think? Is Web-based cloud computing the wave of the future, or should we stick to the devil we know? Express your opinion here.

[This article appeared first here is is republished with the kind permission of the author. Copyright remains with the author and Science Channel.]

More Stories By Patrick J Kiger

Patrick J Kiger blogs at the Science Channel. He has written for GQ, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and other print publications, in addition to being a longtime contributor to the Discovery Channel, Discovery Times and TLC on the Web. One of his articles made the 2004 Best Writing of the Year list at He also is the co-author, with Martin J. Smith, of Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore that Shaped Modern America (Harper Resource, 2004), and OOPS! 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascos that Shaped America (Collins, 2006). He has been interviewed on Fox News and National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" program. You can check out more of his work at

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
Lord Warfare 09/13/08 12:59:00 PM EDT

The author really needs to move about this "global world" and actually learn something about computing other then where is Free-Wifi around the DC metro. This article is pure stupidity. Web based cloud computing is not the "wave" of the future. Cloud computing has been around for a long time. Also, cloud computing is about as "revolutionary" as Open Source computing. The Author neglects to point out that Linux or Java runs most of the portable devices. He further neglects to even mention knowledge of anywhere else in the world other then DC. DC is the eptiome of what the major problem is in IT progression-- The government user and the governement budget. However, the real future is an has been decidedly written long ago. The majority of worthless personal crap will be on home servers that will operate most functionailties of the home. The home server will decidely not run windows or apple(BSD) or even google. It will run linux. Lastly, Google will face a serious problem in its future survivability. Simply Google will begin to suffer from periods of technological non-use implosion do to the home server that will be connect to personal portable devices. People will grow tired or being fleeced by google and the geo-location marketing. As the AI world begins to emerge, new logical queries engines without advetisements or user tracking will take over where google once dominated.

rurik bradbury 09/13/08 12:27:29 PM EDT

Hi Patrick -- Google still has many, many questions to answer before enterprises will take it seriously. It has generated a lot of hype by baiting Microsoft, but it is not clear that actual customers are buying into the hype. I wrote a piece on this: Does Google Apps have zero customers??


@ThingsExpo Stories
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Scott Guthrie's keynote presentation "Journey to the intelligent cloud" is a must view video. This is from AzureCon 2015, September 29, 2015 I have reproduced some screen shots in case you are unable to view this long video for one reason or another. One of the highlights is 3 datacenters coming on line in India.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief Architect at CTS, will explore the synergy of Big Data and IoT. First he will take a closer look at the Internet of Things and Big Data individually, in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. Then he will explore the relationship between IoT and Big Data. Specifically, he will drill down to how the 4Vs aspects intersect with IoT: Volume, Variety, Velocity and Value. In turn, Tony will analyze how the key components of IoT influence Big Data: Device, Connectivity, Context, and Intelligence. He will dive deep to the matrix...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Building actually breathes - immediately flagging overheating in a closet or over cooling in unoccupied ho...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innovation is automation. The most painful pain point for any business is the mismatch between supplies a...
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...