iCloud's big implications for cloud computing

Although Apple's iCloud is a watered-down version of cloud computing, it will have a major effect on cloud perceptions

Apple's iCloud is out. Like many of you, I spent part of the day playing around with the new features such as applications, data, and content syncing. I even purchased 20GB of cloud storage and sent a few items back and forth among my iPad, Mac, and iPhone. It's a good upgrade, but not a great one.

That's a personal take. What about the implications for IT? As you might expect, the phone began to ring soon after iCloud's debut last week. What does a "cloud guy" think about iCloud, and how will it benefit or hurt cloud computing itself going forward? There are two implications to consider.

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First, it's cloud for the retail market. Many people who don't work in enterprise IT will begin to see some advantages of cloud computing. The use of cloud storage is one. Storage-as-a-service providers such as Mozy and Dropbox have been around for years. But iCloud is already linked to your iTunes account and is native to Apple's mobile productivity apps, so it'll get broader adoption as a result. Now, when I mention storage as a service, more people will know what I'm talking about.

Second, there is the potential for privacy issues that will be blamed on cloud computing. New applications in iCloud such as Photo Stream and Find My Friends have the potential for big privacy issues, such as tracking people who don't want to be tracked, or uploading embarrassing photos by mistake. All of these will be user errors, trust me. But it won't matter, as the press will blame it on iCloud, aka "the cloud." Count on seeing iStalking or cloudstalking as a new meme at some point.

Those are the good and bad aspects of iCloud. However, it's a progressive step toward acceptance that information stored on some server at some unknown location is not a bad thing. However, as with any new technology, you have to understand the advantages and disadvantages. Cloud computing and iCloud are no exceptions.

This article, "iCloud's big implications for cloud computing," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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