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Saturday, February 12, 2011

The New Normal – Cloud Computing

This week the Capital Technology Management Hub put on a program about cloud computing – a very informative session about a new approach to computing that is no longer just a concept – it is up and running with higher level enhancements coming on line continuously at a steady pace.

Interesting in its own right, but what became clear during the presentation is: cloud computing is another example of the New Normal.

Cloud Computing is shifting control of resources and software tools into the hands of the user, which offers greater self-reliance - a significant element of the New Normal.

Let's step back to view this progression of computing from a user's viewpoint. 'Back in the old days' – about 45 years ago - computers took up entire floors and required significant staff to operate. Only large organizations could afford to own a mainframe computer, but would rent out idle time on a time-sharing basis. A user would submit work and beg for a quick turnaround of a week to ten days to get project output. The user had no direct access to the computer.

As computers got smaller and the cost came down, more organizations could have this resources in-house, but it required support staff to manage and maintain the equipment and resources. Users now had some direct access to established routines and processes, but modifications required engaging the IT staff.

When the PC and server environment became the norm, the computer and its software tools were finally in the hands of the user, but the servers were the domain of the IT staff to manage, maintain, and add capacity. The user worked directly now, but was haunted with incompatible data & software, as well as server space availability. New equipment cost money, took time, and required justification – all of which would take months to achieve.

Introduce the cloud. From the user's view, compatibility issues are being eliminated - software is in the cloud plus there's plenty data management tools to tame unruly data. What is really putting control in the user's hands is the ability to access the cloud for the resources needed – software tools, computing capacity, and output delivery. The user now can order up these resources directly, be up and running in a matter of minutes, and can decommission it all when completed.

In a sense, with the cloud, the user has come full circle from the time-sharing days, but with control now in the user's hands.

The New Normal encompasses greater self-reliance and independence, and cloud computing is another tool which is creating this reality.

How do you see the New Normal changing how we do work?


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