What’s Old Is New Again
There is a lot of talk about the revolution of The Cloud, HTML5 and the ubiquity of access to Your Stuff. Indeed, it looks like Google is launching a new laptop (Chromebook), which is designed from inception to blend these three technologies into a single hardware platform. Chromebook will do away with hard drives and will more or less be a browser-based machine. All of the significant computing and data storage will take place in the Google Cloud. Users will be able to effectively log into any Chromebook and have Their desktop, apps and data just as they left it from the last user session.
Revolutionary right? Kinda.
The Cloud movement makes me think about the days when IBM was king and the Mainframe was its dominion. Back then, users could log onto any Dumb Terminal within the corporate connected infrastructure and would have access to their own stuff right where they left off. It wasn’t pretty for sure but users had ubiquity of data and apps. They never worried about backup strategies, upgrades or compatibility. Everything just magically worked – in The Ether.
Strangely enough it seems like the concept of centralized configuration management, data storage, security and data persistence is having a rebirth of sorts; albeit the hard lines to the machines can now be missing. Employing a small amount of literary license; Chromebook becomes the new Dumb Terminal and the Cloud becomes the new Mainframe.
The iCloud Cometh
Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, a movement away from the Mainframe environment was all the rage. Client-server or distributed computing was what all the cool kids were doing. The goal was to move the data out to a client (PC), which had its own fast processor. No longer would users have to compete with each other to share processing or schedule jobs on a Mainframe. Now users were independent and could work on said data against their own timeframe and on their own terms. Freedom! Prodigious Processing Panacea!
Fast forward to the Connected Age and computing ubiquity. Now what was once desktop class processing power has been moved into the palm of your hand. Storage is now cheap whilst bandwidth evolved to become more copious and omnipresent.
Now it seems that having an isolated machine isn’t such a great idea. I want to access My Stuff from whatever device I happen to be using, wherever I happen to be. I don’t want it to be trapped in the silo of my personal computing device. How can I be saved?
Welcome (back) to the cloud.