Cloud computing pundits have been speaking long and passionately about the merits of the new system in an effort to get companies of all sizes to put at least a portion of their data, server load and storage needs in the hands of a VPS or cloud provider and to see the benefits that this “evolution” of computing offers. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft are offering free trials of their cloud services in order to draw in new customers in the hopes of convincing them to make a permanent switch. But while the cloud hype sounds great, some in the industry wonder if it might not be the wrong direction to go – a step back, instead of forward.
20 years or so ago, the new trend in IT was the mainframe – a single source of data and storage that wasn’t always managed by in-house IT. It was big and bulky, but represented a way to put all of your data in once place and take advantage of centralized power and reliability. To some in the industry today, cloud computing is simply a re-envisioning of this technology, albeit without the physical presence of mainframes. In both cases, control is being removed from the hands of companies and local IT and being placed in the arms of a provider that may or may not understand the nuances of how the business works and how their data needs to be handled.
While the cloud cannot accurately be called centralized computing due to the lack of a single hub, diffuse centralized computing might fight the bill. With power and control outside the walls of a business and in the hands of a provider, some are wondering if the cloud is simply a retro-future version of an old technology.