When Will Cloud Technology Mature?

The hype around Cloud technology is frothy and in some ways over the top. To most non-technical people, it probably seems that there is a technological revolution underway and they need to get on board or else miss out. But is this Cloud revolution really anything new?

One of the great claims made for the Cloud is that it allows you to access your data or email anywhere and anytime. But before someone coined the term “Cloud,” people were accessing data and email from the Internet already-and have been doing so for decades.

Another claim made for the Cloud is that it makes administration of technology much easier. This is somewhat true, but I would guess that most businesses still need some help to get from here to there, especially if they don’t want to pay the high monthly cost of turning the whole thing over to a hosted-model IT consulting firm.

What most companies really want is a hybrid that lets them avoid paying high monthly fees-while still getting the benefits of local data storage and fast access. So the promise of lower IT administration is complicated.

It’s true that low-cost Cloud technology (such as Google Apps, Egnyte, and various other online models) can be highly beneficial for some small business. But even in those cases, it needs to match up well with your company. Otherwise, you’ll dive into an experience that isn’t what you expected.

There’s no doubt that Cloud is on the rise. But it didn’t start just a few years ago. The technology has been developing for many years, and though it has been nicely repackaged, some of the nagging issues still remain. Cloud is here to stay and will grow. But it will go through some serious growing pains as it continues to mature.

What is the biggest issue with Cloud and how is it resolved? The simple answer to this question is: Access speeds and it can be resolved when everyone has fiber-like Internet speeds.

All the talk about Cloud technology is great, and things are definitely headed in that direction. But only much faster Internet speeds will make saving data in the Cloud-and retrieving it-a practical, hassle-free, and widely popular solution.

Most businesses are currently stuck in a range of 1.5 MB to 20 MB for their Internet speed. A few have a fiber connection that’s much faster, but most small business use traditional Internet providers and aren’t willing to pay the higher prices for a fiber connection.

For tasks like surfing the Internet or downloading a small file here and there, running at those speeds isn’t a problem. But if you compare them to the speed of a typical local-area network (LAN), the comparison gets ugly. LAN speeds are a minimum of 100 MB and a maximum of 1000MB (or 1 GB).

You might wonder: Why am I mentioning this?

Well, if you’re used to getting data and documents from your local server at the speed of 1GB, and the connection speed drops to 1.5MB or 20MB, you’ll definitely notice the difference. And it won’t feel good. A document that once opened almost instantaneously will take 10 or 20 seconds to open. You’ll have to learn patience. For big presentations, you’ll have enough time to get up and pour yourself a cup of coffee while waiting for the download.