cloud solutions virtualisationIn this article, we look back 20 years and forward 20 years, to analyse trends of working changes which cloud technologies have brought about, and to project forward what we might expect in the future.

Twenty years ago the World Wide Web was relatively new (to the general public anyway) and computers were just breaking through into the mainstream. In the year that Windows 95 shipped, the largest hard disk drives stored just 2GB. Data sharing within a corporate network was slow, inefficient and difficult to maintain. Accessing data from outside the network was virtually unthinkable – possible but extremely expensive to implement and manage.

Cloud and storage in 2015

In 2015 average hard drive capacities are 1000% larger – 2TB drives are cheap and plentiful – allowing businesses to capture vast amounts of data. Many consumer-grade Cloud file storage services actually offer 2GB of storage space free as an incentive to encourage subscribers. The Cloud has also made it far easier to share corporate data internally and externally; with files stored in the Cloud, facilitating and securing access becomes the responsibility of the service provider.

Cloud solutions extend far beyond file sharing however. Software like Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 allow businesses to run software through a web browser without installing anything on their PC, for instance. Other line-of-business applications like Salesforce CRM, Quickbooks accounting and even the company telephone switchboard are available as Cloud subscriptions, reducing capital investment and administrative overheads without reducing functionality or availability.

Cloud computing in 2035

As with any technology prediction, specific “prophecies” almost always end in laughable failure. But by analysing current trends it is possible to guess some of what the future holds.

One of the most obvious changes will be the way in which most businesses store data. Rather than maintaining large servers to store files, virtually everything will be hosted offsite using Cloud storage services. Applications like Office 365 already support Cloud file stores for instance, allowing users to save and retrieve documents and data directly. This functionality will become even more commonplace as more businesses make the switch.

There will also be an increase in off-site/hosted processing. Devices like Google’s Chromebook show how it is possible to run a complete suite of business apps over the Internet using nothing more than a web browser (and a little storage space for those rare occasions when someone needs to work offline). Rather than buying onsite software and desktop applications, businesses will instead make the move to a completely hosted application set.

And where businesses have bespoke applications, or the need for a customised toolset, this too will be built and hosted in the Cloud. Using services like Amazon Web Service (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, developers have access to unlimited storage and processing power, allowing them to build even the most complicated applications in the Cloud. This then eliminates the need for capital investment in new hardware and software resources, moving instead to a pay-as-you-use utility-style computing model.

In twenty years’ time, business computing is unlikely to need anything more than a web browser. Make sure your business keeps up with the changes, by getting expert advice on cloud solutions technology.

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