Cloud Computing May Have A Cloudy Future


‘Cloudy’ in this case means uncertain, not dark.

Before I get started, cloud storage is one thing, cloud computing is another. Cloud storage enables you to conveniently access files uploaded to it wherever you have internet access.

A laptop hard drive. In the long run, these are a fraction of the cost of storage offered by cloud computing.
A laptop hard drive.
Image credit: Nicholas Brown / Kompulsa.

Cloud computing involves remotely using another computer via a technology somewhat similar to a dummy terminal. This dummy terminal technology just enables you to control the remote machine and see what you’re doing. Therefore, cloud computing may be defined as remotely renting a computer. The problem is, cloud computing requires a client machine which has its own CPU, RAM, OS, among most of the things that an ordinary PC would require.

So this isn’t the same as the dummy terminals that actually had the potential to save some money back in their day. Even the dummy terminal concept eventually died, because it wasn’t necessary.

Various companies are pushing outright cloud computing as an alternative to owning a powerful, fully featured machine (which costs more up front), but it hasn’t really taken off.

Why Hasn’t Cloud Computing Taken Off?

A possible reason is: Cloud computing entails that you exchange that extra $200-$400 you would have paid only once for a fully featured computer for a low-priced, scaled-down machine (for example: A Chromebook).

Such a machine may force you to use paid services (especially if you want the 1,000 GB of storage that a fully featured laptop or desktop can offer you) due to the limitations of the cloud-reliant device, and you will suffer from reduced reliability.

Now, turn off your phone’s wireless connectivity (turn on airplane mode) for a few minutes and see what you can do on it. The resulting lack of functionality is what reliance on cloud computing entails without an internet connection.

You won’t be able to do anything in remote areas, during service disruptions, power outages (which will disrupt your home WiFi connection) or in public places which don’t provide WiFi.

Other Drawbacks

Poor Performance

Unless you have a robust internet connection, the response and load time of the apps you use on a cloud could be slow.

Costly Bandwidth Usage

On top of your expensive Internet bill, imagine how much additional bandwidth (and hence, money) you would need to download or stream music and movies every time you want to play them, instead of simply loading them from your hard drive or SD card for free.

You will hardly be able to do anything without running up your bill.

Who Could Benefit From Cloud Computing?

People who rarely use computers may benefit from cloud computing because they could just pay to use a computer the few times that they do, instead of forking out the cash required to buy a new one.

Users of mobile phones can benefit from cloud storage especially, as their limited technology lacks adequate storage capacity.

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