So What Exactly Is “Cloud Computing”?
Cloud computing using Google Apps was first patronized by only a handful of staff at Sanmina-SCI (SANM), a company with a $10.7 billion of revenue annually, using the applications to send emails, create documents, and schedule appointments and commitments. After six months, the handful went up to a thousand users of the electronics manufacturing company going online to use Google applications, shunting Microsoft tools to one side.
According to Manesh Patel, the chief information officer of Sanmina-SCI, the Google Apps make a difference between a poorly collaborated cluster and an organized, well-coordinated project teams. He even projected the Google Apps users to increase by 25% (totals 10,000) in the next three years.
Sanmina (which is based in San Jose, California) and Google spearhead a significant shift in the way organizations avail of software and computing capacity as well. Amazon, Salesforce.com, IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft aid corporate clients in exploring the Internet from extra server space down to software which manages customer relationships more effectively.
So What Exactly Is “Cloud Computing”? The computing tasks (referred to as "cloud computing") are assigned to a remote location rather than to the company’s own server. Cloud computing services are delivered all over the Internet depending on the demand from massive data centers. A million-dollar enterprise, Merrill Lynch’s estimate is that the annual international demand for cloud computing will be up to $95 billion. Based on May 2008 report, 12% of software market worldwide would choose cloud computing, in fact, IBM, DELL, and Hewlett Packard are looking to shift to cloud computing in the near future. Even IBM professes its willingness to spend $36-M to build cloud computing data center in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Michael Dell, DELL CEO, stresses that they’ve put together a new industry building custom products for customers with specific needs to address.
Question of Reliability Some companies have qualms regarding the system’s reliability, but Daryl Plummer, managing vice-president of consulting firm Gartner, reasoned that technologies take some time to achieve that perfection which everyone might be looking for. Google Apps as an example might not offer the same features as Microsoft Office Professional, but is effective in maintaining collaborations among employees globally. Dave Girouard, of Google, stressed that things are not expected to turn out as smoothly or as perfectly as one hopes to be but Patel of Sanmina said that in the long term, it shouldn’t pan out so badly. Girouard noted that more than half of the 500,000 organization use the free version of Google Apps. Cloud computing might give HR a run for their money because the idea of moving attendance monitoring and expense reporting into Google Apps is something that is explored by Patel. Taking baby steps, as per Patel’s remark coupled with trying lower-priority applications will help them get the results they are aiming for. Cloud computing might not be applicable to storing financial and health records due to rules for security and privacy but a private cloud may be a possibility. Generally, most feel that the system has to iron out things first before anyone adopts it on larger scale. An upswing in revenue is expected as more companies become more comfortable with the system. Google Apps will be provided for free, too. As Girouard at Google puts it, they intend to “generate millions of users for life”.