As we approach 2010 it appears a popular trend is Cloud computing. Will it take computing by storm and will Google's be the one to kick start a migration to the cloud? or could we be in for a storm?

As we end 2009, what will be the hot topic of 2010?

Regular readers to this blog will remember the questions I posed in regards to the resistance from some quarters about computing in the cloud.  My argument went something like this, if we are agreed that Microsoft Windows has the market share of the OS market and can agree that maybe one of the reasons its prone to so many security issues is because of that popularity, why do people have a fear of the cloud in relation to security of data?  If you read that article you may also remember the Microsoft advocate Andre Da Costa claiming that cloud computing was still a concept that was way in the future.

At the time I challenged this remark and stated that IMO this was always the claim with new tech/innovation when Microsoft were not at the forefront of it.  You can read that article here and before we proceed further, lets remind ourselves about what Andre Da Costa had to say about GoogleOS and cloud computing:

Everybody is saying its lame and Google is way ahead of its time. The fact that they are using this draconian measure of requiring specific hardware leaves much to be desired. If Google goes forward the two biggest losers will be Google and Linux. A web centric operating system is not viable today, next year, 5 years or even 10 years from now, because the ubiquity of an Internet infrastructure that Google is requiring for Chrome OS does not exist, even if there is a good internet infrastructure in some part of the world, its not completely reliable.

Of course if you are not indoctrinated into the world of Redmond the story is somewhat different and to me it appears that its only the advocates who believe that computing in the cloud is as far away as a secure Windows.  Its been reported on the net that as a result of a survey that cloud computing was one of the trends popular with companies.  Its grabbing the interest of enterprise and the home user?

Adam Bosnian had this say:

Almost any size of organisation can use public or private cloud resources and enjoy significantly enhanced economies of scale

You can read the entire article here: http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.33924

So what does this mean for the masses?  In my opinion for most of us 2010 will be pretty much the same as it is now, we will continue to see Linux make in-roads into the mainstream desktop market (as well as the wealth of alternatives) and we will see a continued increase in Linux based hardware.  With GoogleOS hitting the streets next year, I think that this is why the cloud OS has been attacked and criticised by the Microsoft faithful.  They are worried.  With a name like Google and more people opening up to the concept of computing in the cloud one has to wonder where Windows will sit in all of this.

About mid 2009 I wrote an article entitled “Are games the last bastion of salvation for Windows?” and I think as we progress through 2010 this will become ever more true.  Whilst undoubtably hardcore PC gamers will choose a Windows based system, you have Wine going from strength to strength and many developers commenting that the PC market is getting harder to make the type of returns you see in the console sector (through piracy and a reluctance by some users to upgrade hardware just to play the latest releases)

Google has the brand name. Does it have the influence to convince people of a switch from traditional computing?

Where we’ve been, where we’ve come from and where we are headed?

I think the “mainstream” user was exposed (and had their mind opened to) alternative OS’s in the mobile phone market, we see popular devices offering a plethora of features that are not running a Windows OS.  Combine that with the reports of satisfied Apple Mac customers and the growing interest in Linux to see why maybe now more than ever people don’t consider PC==Microsoft (and are open to new concepts and solutions)

I don’t believe cloud computing is such a scary concept to users as it once was.  I remember in the days of dialup watching every minute online.  I remember an easier life when I first got broadband and now in 2010 most PC’s are connected to the net as soon as they are switched on and stay connected until they are powered down.  For those of you like me who’ve been about a while, I’d ask you to cast your mind back a little while.  Can you remember when the thought of “always connected” would fill you with horror and visions of cyber-attacks, hell and damnation and all manner of nightmares?

In 2008 the BBC wrote this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7421099.stm which in my opinion echoed the same fears that many people have in regards to important data being held in a remote location.

I think Cloud computing will start with Google, not necessarily because it has a killer implementation (although that may be the case) but rather because it has the brand name to inspire confidence in the concept.

So what of Windows?  Could its closed source nature be eventually the death of it?  Quite possibly, one only has to look at the wealth of FOSS projects that are providing alternative solutions to many of Microsoft products.  Even Microsoft themselves are alleged to use GPL code (and allegedly violate it albeit by a third party)

Remember Mr Ballmer’s cancer comment in regards to Linux?

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches

But then should we really pay any attention to him? he was alleged afterall to also say that Google was a house of cards and iPhone had no chance of getting a significant market share.  I bring this up since GoogleOS is built on Linux so its rather relevant that the first “mainstream” steps of this concept are being taken by that which Mr Ballmer seems to have a low opinion of.  Talking of cancer and IP,  I wonder if he would like to retract that since Microsoft China are alleged to have taken code from another companies product and attempted to use it as their own.  For more information on this, read the article here.

I think many people are ready to look at the concept of computing in the cloud.  Just don’t expect a realistic answer from a Microsoft advocate unless the solution is being offered by them (IMO)  Consider yourself how many apps you are already using that are based in “the cloud”.   I think you will be quite surprised and certainly for the mainstream users with their Facebook et al, many people already have their data stored remotely and don’t even think twice about it.

We all remember how Mr Ballmer IMO says something only for the exact opposite to happen.  Here is allegedly what Mr Ballmer has to say about ChromeOS in July and time will tell if its another “Google is a house of cards” type comment from the man who has unique idea’s about how to perform in public. Maybe this is why it was reported 40% of a poll by the Wall Street Journal don’t rate Mr Ballmer?  Its worth noting however that already he has the the first part of his comments wrong.  A year and a half?:

I will be respectful … Who knows what this thing is? To me, the Chrome OS thing is highly interesting … It won’t happen for a year and a half and they already announced an operating system … I don’t know if they can’t make up their mind or what the problem is over there, but the last time I checked, you don’t need two client operating systems … It’s good to have one.

Read the full article here: http://www.geek.com/articles/news/ballmer-generates-laughter-with-chrome-os-comments-20090715/ I wonder if Mr Ballmer will be seemingly so flippant in 2010 when we see the first intended implementations of the ChromeOS?

Recent news on Cloud computing

Finally here are some points of interest in relation to Cloud Computing in recent weeks.

Cloud Computing Comes to Hong Kong –  http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/1208866

Fujitsu Unveils New Cloud Services for ISVs and Enterprises – http://tinyurl.com/y89gqlp

The Top 150 Players in Cloud Computing – http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/770174

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com