Have you had that moment where you’re performing some menial task on the Internet and get distracted, pulled away to another computer and try to do the same task only to find that your menial task could only be done on the one computer? It’s a sad, strange sense of bewilderment when you realize that the cloud hasn’t completely encompassed all aspects of your life, which is strange since it’s so new.
For years, the cloud was a nebulous concept whispered about amongst Silicon Valley types that promised an incredible interconnectedness served up wirelessly and allowing for a perfect synthesis of content across a network of devices. The whispers have grown into shouts bellowed from the rooftops of millions of consumers. iCloud has captured the tens of millions of Apple loyalists who needed a way to access music across devices. Amazon has democratized real-life cloud computing with the Kindle Fire, a device which does almost no processing on its own, and instead pulls information from a cloud server where all the number-crunching is actually done.
Services like Box.net, Egnyte, and Cloud.com have seen a huge increase in valuation as the market responds positively to cloud solutions being rolled out to consumers.
Dropbox has sort of become the poster child for success in the cloud space.
Originally designed to help two MIT grads alleviate frustration in e-mailing files back and forth, Dropbox has grown into an industry that accommodates the necessity of consumer access to media across multiple platforms. Dropbox and its contemporaries are making a name in the nascent but booming cloud market. The only thing holding these services back is scale.
Companies like Rackspace offer more comprehensive solutions for enterprise clouds – that is, cloud services that can accommodate the needs of global corporations, and that is invariably where the industry is headed.
Corporations have seen the impact of private clouds on small scales – Gmail, Google Music, iCloud – and they are now working on facilitating a large-scale integration of cloud services and hardware into enterprise. Many of the aforementioned companies were snapped up and absorbed into larger entities. Buzz in in the venture capital sector of Silicon Valley indicates hundreds of million of dollars of investment capital flowing into the development of cloud computing.
Evolution happens at a fast clip. Consumer services like Dropbox would not have made sense a decade ago. The proliferation of tablets (thanks, Apple) and smartphones has changed the landscape of information technology in a way that will likely prevent a return to that way things were.
The cloud is here to stay and it is incumbent on tech developers, financiers and benefactors to harness the power of the cloud now so that it can be more wholly and efficiently integrated into the products and services we use daily.