Connectivity is the Cloud’s Achilles Heal…Sort Of.

Having written about the challenges for Road Warriors and cloud computing, I thought it a good opportunity to write about the challenges that connectivity brings to a cloud-based methodology. Some challenges are very real while others are perception.

It is true that road warriors are still challenged with hosting data in the cloud. There are a myriad of reasons this becomes problematic. The vast majority of airplanes still don’t have Internet connectivity. And those that do have limited bandwidth. Just try to open that large PowerPoint presentation or make a Skype call from an airplane over WiFi. The same is true in airports and hotels. And when there is connectivity, the options can be frustrating. I recently stayed at hotel in Japan (a global brand). They offered free WiFi in the lobby. In the rooms WiFi was not available…only wired access. Of course this presented a challenge for someone who typically only travels with an Apple iPad. And then there are the hotels, airports and other locations that charge exorbitant rates to use their WiFi network. If you’re traveling to a conference with other tech-minded folks, expect the connectivity performance to suffer accordingly.

However, for businesses, the challenges are less concerning. Businesses are more stationary and less mobile. Redundant connectivity is a real option as the cost of bandwidth drops. For this reason, connectivity is less of an issue for businesses than the mobile users that access cloud-based services. Local access to productivity apps and their related files can realistically be accessed across the Internet today. There are corner cases, but for the majority, it is very possible.

When considering whether to leverage cloud-based services, one has to consider many factors. Those include the location of users (end-users, developers, administrators), applications that consume the data and value to business (economic, flexibility and responsiveness). More to come on the “three tenants” of cloud computing in a future post.

It is important to consider the different scenarios. It is equally important to look at new paradigms and not be constrained by conventional wisdom.

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