Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Exercising a little caution on the iCloud


In a May 31, 2011 press release by Apple, rumors about the company’s foray into cloud-based services were confirmed. Details of the service are, of course, top secret and will only be revealed at the upcoming Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011, but there are already some speculations about what iCloud will be all about. (iCloud, huh? Betcha 50 bucks Apple will try to copyright the letter ‘i' one of these days, if they haven’t already tried to do so!)

This service will likely go a long way in making cloud-based services mainstream (or more mainstream than they already are), and that’s just fine and dandy, but that’s not what I want to focus on today. Given the recent problems that other giants of the consumer world have faced lately with their cloud-based services, I am quite concerned about how Apple’s offering will measure in terms of security and reliability.

Undoubted, cloud computing is the way of the “future” (or so the experts say), but I guess the question is, are we ready for the future right now? Are we pushing too much on the cloud that we may be well on our way to another PlayStation Network-style meltdown (which, incidentally, affected over 100 million people) or another outage such as the one in Amazon’s EC2 service back in April?

I am usually not one of those people who think that we have to be conservative when it comes to using technology. In fact, given the choice between doing things the “old-fashioned” way or the “high-tech” way, I will almost always choose the latter, even if the benefits may not be that much! I simply love technology, and that’s the bottom line, but even a technophile like me can appreciate the inherent problems with cloud-based services, and the recent catastrophes mentioned above just give my worries a louder voice.

As I see it, the biggest challenge will be to make people realize all the implications of cloud-based services in general, and the iCloud, in particular. I just don’t want the masses to blindly flock to the iCloud service because it is new, cool, trendy, and espoused by the smooth-talking, turtleneck-sporting CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, without thinking about what could go wrong.

Alas, the masses are almost guaranteed to be wooed by whatever freebies Apple will offer to attract people (e.g. 100 GB of free online storage space, etc.), and, you know what, that’s pretty sad!

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