Tag Archives: cloud

Real-world cloud computing adoption: pretty slow according to IDG Connect survey

A survey by IDG Connect, sponsored by Dell, asked European IT “decision makers” in organisations with 500 or more employees about their migration plans. The survey took place at the end of 2012 and in early 2013.

Here are the cloud migration plans for email:

  • Migrate email to Office 365: 13%
  • Migrate email to Google Apps: 8%

Unfortunately the survey does not cover other cloud providers for email.

What about usage of cloud servers?

  • Plan to use Amazon virtual servers: 2%
  • Plan to use Microsoft Azure virtual servers: 1%
  • Plan to use other cloud providers for virtual servers: 9%
  • No plans to use cloud servers: 88%

Surveys are (very) imperfect, and plans can change. Nevertheless, these figures suggest that migration to the cloud remains in an early phase.

A couple of further observations. One is that while the benefits of cloud computing are real – including multi-tenancy, scalability, lower maintenance cost, and arguably better security and resiliency – there are also downsides, in particular loss of control, and vulnerability to interference by outside agencies.

Costs might or might not be lower. There is sometimes an assumption that lower maintenance costs and greater elasticity must mean lower cost overall, but it does not always stack up that way.

On the other hand, I also wonder whether IT administrators protecting their internal organisations is a factor. If you ask an IT admin to assess the benefit of outsourcing a chunk of his work, will you get an objective result? Maybe not.

You can see the whole survey (which also has some eye-opening statistics about usage of Windows XP) here (registration required).

How many clouds is too many? AcerCloud announced in Las Vegas

Acer has announced its AcerCloud in the run-up to CES in Las Vegas. This is a service that spans mobile devices, PCs and the internet, the aim being that pictures, documents and multimedia are available from any device. Take a picture on your smartphone, and it appears seamlessly on your PC. Download a video to your PC, and view it on your tablet. Play music stored at home from your tablet while out and about.

The press release is short on technical details, but does say:

AcerCloud intelligently uses local and cloud storage together so all data is always available

That said, it is more PC-centric than some cloud services. It seems that Acer considers the PC or notebook to be the primary repository of your data, with the cloud acting as a kind of cache:

Professionals can update sales documents on a PC and save them, and the documents will be put into the personal cloud and streamed to other devices. They can then go to their meeting with their notebook or tablet PC and have immediate access to all the updated files. The files will be temporarily accessible for 30 days in the personal cloud and on the devices, or they can choose to download the files on to other devices for long-term storage.

One of the features, which failed in the CES demo, is that a PC which is in hibernation can be woken up through wi-fi to deliver your content on demand:

As long as the main PC is in sleep (standby/hibernation) mode, Acer Always Connect technology can wake it up through Wi-Fi® so media can be retrieved via a mobile device.

This whole thing would work better if the cloud, rather than the home PC, were the central repository of data. A PC or notebook sitting at home is unreliable. It has a frail hard drive. It might be a laptop on battery power, and the battery might expire. The home broadband connection might fail – and most home connections are much slower uploading to the internet than downloading from it.

Another question: if you one of the professionals Acer refers to, will you want to put your faith in AcerCloud for showing documents at your business meeting?

Acer wants to differentiate its products so that users seek out an Acer PC or tablet. The problem though is that similar services are already available from others. DropBox has a cloud/device synchronisation service that works well, with no 30 day expiry. Microsoft’s SkyDrive is an excellent, free cloud storage service with smart features like online editing of Office documents. Google Music will put all your music in the cloud. Apple iCloud shares content seamlessly across Apple devices, and so on.

The problem with this kind of effort is that if it is less than excellent, it has a reverse effect on the desirability of the products, being one more thing users want to uninstall or which gets in the way of their work.

We will see then.

Finally, I note this statement:

AcerCloud will be bundled on all Acer consumer PCs starting Q2 2012. It will support all Android devices, while future support is planned for Windows-based devices.

Android first.

Apple gives up on Xserve dedicated server hardware – looking towards the cloud?

Apple is scrapping is Xserve products, according to the latest information on its web site:

Xserve will no longer be available after January 31, but we’ll continue to fully support it. To learn more, view the PDF.

If you do indeed view the PDF, it confirms that:

Apple will not be developing a future version of Xserve

However, the Snow Leopard Server, a version of OS X tuned for server use, remains; and Apple suggests that you install it either on a Mac Pro or on a Mac Mini.


That’s all very well; but while a Mini might well make sense for a very small business, larger organisations will not be impressed by the lack of features like dual redundant power supplies, lights out management, and rack mounting, which the Xserve provides.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. One is that Apple is giving up on the server market. Largely true, I think; but my guess is that Apple realises that this type of on-premise server is under threat from the cloud. I do not see this as Apple giving up on corporate computing; that would be unexpected considering the gains it is making with Mac, iPhone and iPad. I do see this as a move towards a client and cloud, or device and cloud, strategy. In that context it is not so surprising.

That said, I imagine there are a few businesses out there focused on supplying Xserve-based systems who will be disappointed by the news. I’ve not used one myself; but from what I’ve heard it is rather good.