Let’s face it, the average American doesn’t really understand what cloud computing is all about. According to a recent survey commissioned by Citrix, many think the phenomenon is weather-related, or involves pillows, drugs or toilet paper.
- 95% of those who think they’re not using the cloud, actually are
- 3 in 5 (59%) believe the “workplace of the future” will exist entirely in the cloud
- More than one third agree that the cloud allows them to share information with people they’d rather not be interacting with in person
- After being provided with the definition of the cloud, 68% recognized its economic benefits
- 14% have pretended to know what the cloud is during a job interview.
“This survey clearly shows that the cloud phenomenon is taking root in our mainstream culture, yet there is still a wide gap between the perceptions and realities of cloud computing,” said Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix.
Meanwhile, the dangers of the cloud were recently highlighted across the Internet with Wired’s Mat Honan’s account of "epic hacking," involving his email and Twitter accounts, along with the purge of his MacBook, iPad, and iPhone through iCloud's "Find My iPhone" service.
Cloud computing has been around for years, and while the origin of the term is obscure, the cloud symbol was used to represent the Internet as early as 1994. Fast forward to 2012, and thousands of companies now rent server time and data storage in the cloud, and Amazon, through its Amazon Web Services division (A.W.S.), is emerging as a major player.
“We are on a shift that is as momentous and as fundamental as the shift to the electrical grid,” said Andrew R. Jassy, head of A.W.S. “It’s happening a lot faster than any of us thought.”
Jassy opened A.W.S. six years ago. Today the website has more than 600 job openings and delivers close to $1 billion to Amazon’s bottom line through three huge computer centers housing thousands of servers, located in Virginia, Oregon and California. “We believe at the highest level that A.W.S. can be at least as big as our other businesses,” added Jassy, estimating his division is less than 10% of its potential size.
“We expect Amazon’s revenues from cloud and web services to jump from $2 billion currently to almost $7 billion by the end of our forecast period.”
In June, Google introduced Windows Azure, and Graham Spencer, a partner at Google Ventures commented, “It’s a huge change for Silicon Valley. You can now test a product against millions of users for just a few thousand dollars, or start a company with just one or two people.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, said former company executive David Risher in the Times, “thinks on a planetary level. A.W.S. is an opportunity, as a business. But it is also a philosophy of enabling other people to build big systems. That is how Amazon will make a dent in the universe.”
Meanwhile, 40 percent of Americans reported in the Citrix survey that the greatest benefit of using the cloud is to work from home in their "birthday suit." One quarter use it to purge embarrassing photos from their hard drives, and 33 percent enjoy sunbathing while accessing their files.
A comment on zdnet.com from lepoete73 summarizes: “Even though I'm in computing, by what I read I always thought cloud computing was about having a "dumb terminal" at home and having all processing happening "out there" like with tablets and Chromebooks.
Maybe Hurricane Isaac has something to do with it all?