The Problem With Cloud Computing

Yesterday the internet was so a buzz, you would have thought Microsoft had gone under. The culprit? Gmail was not working.

Let me rephrase that, the web version of Gmail was not working. Those with iPhones, other popmail accounts, or iGoogle were still able to receive and send email. Yet even with all these work arounds, people were still acting like clean water had run out.

I won’t lie, I too grumbled for a little bit about the loss of email. Then I realized there’s a bigger problem here than not being able to see the new shirts from Nerdy Shirts and what’s happening on Facebook.

Gmail uses cloud computing. So rather than having your emails stored on your computer’s hard drive (or your work’s servers) it’s stored on one at Google’s headquarters.

We just received a small sample of what could happen if our connection to Google goes down. Imagine if one day Google were to lose power or change their terms of conditions and required you to pay or submit personal info to access your email. What would you do then?


Ubiquity of the Cloud

Gmail is just the tip of the ice berg. Companies like Amazon use their servers to host companies like The New York Times’ data, Verizon hosts a great deal of their data on AT&T’s servers, and even this blog you’re reading isn’t hosted locally. A lot of very important data is being accessed via the cloud, let’s hope it’s also being backed up locally.

Cloud computing definitely makes life easier. I can log into Gmail from any computer with the internet and access those emails. However, if I have not downloaded them to my PC I might have to jump through hoops to attain them or at worst they could be gone forever.

Google provided an explanation for the downtime and they’re also working on an offline version of Gmail. I assume this is in response to concerns about a loss in connection.


What do you think?

So how about you, what are your thoughts on cloud computing? Do the pros of the cloud outweigh the cons?

Did you miss out on Gmail yesterday? What’s the longest you’ve had to wait for a site or program to come back online?



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