Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the next big thing. So can you rely on storing all your data online or should you still keep some hardware on site in case of the dreaded server crash?

Cloud computing allows you to store all of your files online and access them from anywhere in the world. A relatively new public technology, cloud computing has received massive press coverage and business growth as companies look at ways of cutting costs and reaching an increasingly global work force.

There are many who feel the ‘Cloud’ is the future of IT support, though others warn against companies resistance to investing in new IT hardware.

So let’s look at some pros and cons for Cloud vs. Hardware

The Cloud and Business IT

Pros

Cloud solution offer lower computer costs since they are predominantly web based.

You do not need a cutting edge PC so this would negate the necessity for frequent computer updates. Along with this there is improved performance as you operate on a platform free from interference from other programmes.

Your software costs are reduced and updates are generally free and automatic. Perhaps most importantly is the trifecta of unlimited storage, increased data reliability (i.e. less chance of your server crashing than your PC) and the ability to access your documents from almost anywhere.

Cons

However your accessibility depends on your internet connection. No internet, no cloud. Even when running the Cloud programmes can be slow to load, this is worse if your internet is running slow or the server itself is experiencing high demand.

Cloud computing is still relatively new in terms of public access so many programmes do not have the same features as those of their desk top counterparts. Crucially there are still many concerns about the safety of your data and even worse the possibility of it being lost. After all if your desktop can crash then why not the cloud server?

What about Hardware?

Pros

Hardware represents reliability. Yes we have all had problems with computers, but by and large today most of us are tech savvy enough to fix them and if not we know someone who does or can simply Google it.

Laptops enable mobility and improved email and basic sharing systems such as Drop Box enable easy sharing without expensive outlays on new cloud computing hardware and software.

Importantly computing hardware is readily available and due to high levels of market competitions relatively affordable to almost everyone and you can access large files and documents without the internet and at high operating speeds.

Cons

Hardware costs money and sometimes breaks. Replacing and fixing hardware can by a highly cash intensive process and in the same way as the cloud you run the risk of losing your data and not being able to access it if your computer undergoes problems.

Software also needs to be consistently updated and synchronised across all working desk tops. Also the inevitable face slap moment when you get home and need to work on an important document only to realise you saved it on your work PC.

There is no disputing that Cloud Computing offers many new and exciting possibilities for business IT infrastructure in the future. However at this crucial inception stage of design and development businesses would be foolish not to continue to at least invest part of their IT budget in new hardware and appropriate backup systems.

What do you think of the cloud computing vs. in-house hardware argument?

Michael Muttiah is a writer and professional geek. He can be found hiding behind his laptop in any public place that sells coffee while reading Mashable. He recommends Hardware.

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