Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cloud Computing: Weapons of mass disruption

I gave my lecture today at the University of Toronto and like most of my events lately I only made it through my first three slides. I seem to have a knack for creating an interactive discussion and today's un-lecture was no different.

The group consisted of mostly computer science post grad students. They did ask me some fairly intriguing questions. In one my random off topic rants, I described cloud computing as one of the biggest disruptive technologies to emerge this decade. Now I'm not sure if I'm starting to believe my own hype or if there was actually more too the story. I know one thing, I need to stop using the word "paradigm". But then again, it did spark some great dialog. Afterward for some reason the idea of cloud computing being a weapon of mass disruption came to mine, but unfortunately I didn't have a chance to use the term in my presentation today.

Another example I gave was in describing the movement away from the traditional single tenant desktop or server environment to that of a decentralized internet centric one. The idea of the network or the internet as the computer also seemed to strike a cord with the audience. This is a concept I still do truly believe. The idea of a hybrid computing environment where some software aspects remain on your desktop and other are farmed out to the cloud seems to resonate with a lot of the people I've been talking to lately. Microsoft's Photosynth is prime example, they refer to this as a Software + Services and actually makes a lot of sense. Microsoft describes their Software + Services philosophy as "a combination of local software and Internet services interacting with one another. Software makes services better and services make software better. And by bringing together the best of both worlds, we maximize choice, flexibility and capabilities for our customers." Microsoft at least from a "talk is cheap point" of view seems to get it.

At the end of the day, I think I enjoy interacting with people, whether it's at a conference or in a more intimate university lecture, now I see what I missed out on by not going to college or university, an interactive forum for discussion. If you're interested in getting me to speak at your school, please get in touch.

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