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State of Cloud Computing Print
June 2011

Cloud Computing is an ultimate arrangement of virtualization of computing resources.  Instead of owning and managing our own information system infrastructure or applications, we entrust someone somewhere else to do it for us and we just behave as a user and pay as we go.  If we use Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, we are already using the cloud and for free.  This is tempting and most of us have got a very attractive introduction to the cloud in this manner.  What is next? 

Many cloud operators are inviting us to let them host our accounting system for a small monthly charge.  Single man band (SMB) businesses will likely jump at the offer as they do not have money to buy an accounting system and a high quality server to host the software.  They do not mind that their most valuable data is somewhere else under the custody of someone they do not know as they cannot afford not to do so.  Should schools do the same? 

Schools are not SMB and should think differently. Managing our local area network on campus is still a primary requirement and will produce tangible benefits.  We are getting ultra fast broadband (UFB) anytime. Will UFB remove the fear of single point failure and encourage us to keep our data on the other side of the school?  No.  UFB is for facilitating communication and exchange of skills with counterparts for well defined purposes.  Interfacing with the outside world is not the same as cloud computing per se.  This means schools should look at how to raise our education standard by sharing resources with counterparts making use of the newest capabilities.