If you haven’t heard of the cloud, you’ve been living under a rock.  Over past years, this has become all the rage of the technology world.  We are slowly being completely surrounded by clouds of all shapes and sizes; as they collapse around us and force us into their depths.  Every major company has a cloud in the sky these days.  Apple’s iCloud.  Microsoft’s Skydrive.  Google Cloud/Drive/Docs.  Even on large-scale business enterprise platforms are providing cloud services, with companies like EMC, Commvault, Symantec, etc entering the arena.

Today, let’s discuss today’s impact of the cloud on users like us, and where it could be taking us.


Everyday Use

At its core, “the cloud” is really just a synonym for the Internet.  When data is stored in the cloud, it’s stored on the Internet.  Not locally to your hard drive.  Privacy, anyone?

If I bring my laptop home from work, it’s a matter of 30 seconds for me to log in and access all of my work files.  I simply VPN into the company network, and presto!—all of my files, virtual machines, and company networks are available to me.  In college, I lost track of how many times groups would work together on one large Google Doc in preparation for a test.  Granted, there were the freeloaders like me who would just let everyone else finish the guide; technologies like these probably haven’t helped our overall laziness as a society.

There is no doubt that cloud data storage has its place.  The ease of transferring files between computers, phones, tablets, etc from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection is incredibly efficient.

college cloud


Where We’re Going

Basic cloud computing and data storage is probably a bigger part of your life than you realize.  Use Dropbox to transfer things between computers?  Use Google Docs to help study for exams?  You’ll note that now, it’s primarily DATA being stored.  However, applications are starting to be run from a cloud interface now, as well.  Facebook is a type of cloud service.  You upload the data to it, and the application runs off of that data.  In no way whatsoever is “Facebook” stored on your local computer.  More than likely, applications will continue to be pushed to cloud interfaces over time.

The question I ask is, how far does it go?

cloud diagram

Theoretically Speaking

Let’s say you’re a Windows kind of guy.  Right now, you’ve got Windows 7 Home Premium running on your Dell laptop.  Think about your entire operating system, Windows 7, running off a cloud system from Microsoft.  Will computers eventually become such a bare bone that you actually log into a cloud to access your core operating system and its files?  If that is the case, then all of your personal documents would be stored there as well.

I, for one, can’t imagine a life without having my data locally accessible.  It’s nice to know that even if I were to unplug from the Internet, I could still access my basic photos, music, videos, etc.  Storing everything in an online space, where the ownership and rights of said data becomes cloudy (see what I did there?), simply seems like a slower, and less secure way of running everything.  Then you have to be trusting of these large companies to house your data, but it’s not like it’s private anyways.

My concern is, if it is more profitable for the technology giants of the world, eventually they will all push this upon us until we have no choice.  Technology moves so fast you constantly are in a state of uphill battle if you want to keep up.  If all companies push this kind of system upon us, what choice do we have but to conform to it?  Perhaps we are just at the mercy of these corporate giants, and they will just pull us in whatever direction they see themselves making the most dough.

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