Federal Cloud Computing: Embracing Simplicity

If I had to come up with one word to describe the promise of Cloud Computing, that word would be simplicity. Yes, there has been a lot of discussion, pro and con, about moving to the Cloud and all of the implications behind it, much of it fear based. This YouTube video says it all… http://tiny.cc/9rrnh. In any case, security fears are the biggest reason for the mass hesitation to embrace the cloud, but if done judiciously, moving to the cloud could be the most liberating thing that we do, from a technology standpoint.

The computer’s evolution from the early 90s to the present has had enormous impacts on all of us in every aspect of our lives, from the way we run countries and companies, to the way we interact with our children. There is almost no aspect of our lives that is not affected by the PC in some way, and yet, for all of that evolution, the PC has gotten more, not less complicated. In fact, it seems that the more convenient it becomes, the more difficult it is to maintain, particularly in those same corporate and governmental environments. There are new, more sophisticated worries we have to manage, from simply installing a software upgrade or a security patch in an enterprise, to the threat of cyber terrorism, to personal security concerns. In addition, we seem to be married to the notion that if we hold onto control by holding onto our machines, we’ll be more secure. The PCs promise of giving us more control over our lives has given way to a new reality; the PC actually has more control over us.

Simplicity… Computing seemed a whole lot simpler back in the 90s when we had “dumb terminals” connected to a mainframe. Upgrades were done to that mainframe, and the benefits of those upgrades were distributed to the terminal. Simple. We upgraded one machine and the masses benefitted. Of course, computing power back then was nowhere what it is today. We weren’t streaming video, Skyping our loved ones, and we certainly didn’t have tablet PCs.

We can return to that simplicity, however, AND keep our computing power in today’s environment. By embracing the Cloud, we can liberate ourselves from the worry of pushing patches and software upgrades through the enterprise, we can liberate ourselves from worrying about having the latest technology, we can even liberate ourselves of the thought of having to hold onto our machines to feel secure (I admit that I’m not there yet, although the kids seem to be). In addition, the Cloud holds the promise of making it simple and less expensive under a pay-as-you-go premise. We can have our cake and eat it too, because it gives us the ability to buy the features and functionality we want, when we want it for as long as we want it, no forklifts, upgrades or patches required.

Yes, our machines become “dumb terminals,” in a sense. Very sophisticated dumb terminals. But we’re not reverting back to the 90s. Instead, we’re moving forward to a time where computing becomes commodity, just like your telephone, your cable, your water and your electricity. You select your options, pay a monthly bill, and a very sophisticated computing world is at your fingertips.

Simplicity itself.

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Michelle E.Tucker

Not yet, but my plan for future postings is to delve more deeply by interviewing companies involved with government and agencies who have embraced cloud in one form or another and writing on what the impacts to them have been. I think it could be interesting.