Much as I can admit to learning and being inspired by reading other people’s rants on the blogosphere, it’s very easy to be disoriented and misguided by certain staff.
Case in point this post by Alex Haislip in Techcrunch itself. Alex Haislip’s main premise is that cloud computing only expands and doesn’t make obsolete computing in your server.
In what seems to me a somewhat sloppily put together piece, he gives some examples in which transition from past to future system is gradual or the future system ends up complementing the past one for a long time. TV coexists with VCR, TiVo etc. while radio does the same along hi-fi, podcasting etc.
He then also gives reasons why the cloud can’t be expected to do everything. For example, cloud backup is inferior to tape(!) storage for speed, security and reliability reasons. Tape storage has also been optimized for mission critical stuff, is very cheap and complies with government regulations. Also, if you have very specific hardware requirements – e.g. for graphics computation – it’s again a bad idea to go to the cloud.
That’s the argument line according to Haislip and he’d almost have you convinced… if you weren’t to bother with reading the comments. It’s there that most of his arguments break down.
From handling graphics (Amazon offers GPU instances) to complying with regulations (cloud companies specifically designed for this) solutions actually do seem to exist – at least at first approach. Moreover, cost is increasingly less of an issue as prices both for storage and CPU cycles continue to go down.
Handling mission critical data with a tried and tested platform is perhaps the best argument in Haislip’s post but for at least some if not most of the cases, redundancy in the cloud systems can save the day for when all hell breaks loose.
In short, unless you’re after something very specific, yes, the cloud can’t accommodate you. But for 99% or more of the cases, and especially when it comes to small businesses, the choice for the cloud is a no-brainer!
This just goes to show, how things should not be taken at face value and definitely not changed by the eye-catching and provocative title. But then again this is Techcrunch.