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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Cloud: Is it too high in the sky?

Cloud computing has been advertised by many different companies, especially IBM and Amazon, who are marketing new computing services that can be accessed easily through a web browser and internet connection. It is one way that internet services are being expanded to provide access to services that normally would be provided with physical hardware.

The cloud consists of several sets of services that normally are provided by hardware, but are now being provided through a web interface that then accesses hardware that a service provider maintains. Examples of this type of technology are servers that are maintained by a service provider that then allows users to purchase access to either the servers themselves, or just the right to have programs run on the server. It allows for the user to have access to hardware that they do not have to maintain themselves, and can be shared between multiple different users.

The key point to the cloud is that the pervasive nature of the internet allows for services to be proved wherever there is an internet collection. This allows service providers to maintain data centers that can then be accessed from anywhere. But what does this all mean? For many companies, this means a change in their information technology (IT) departments to a structure that does not rely on the maintenance of company-owned computers and infrastructure. What remains to be seen is whether further use of the cloud will result in the loss of jobs, or if it will actually create jobs as the industry evolves to meet them. What is at stake are the current jobs that are held by IT professionals whose jobs could be lost or downsized as more of these services are concentrated into service provided by cloud companies.

So the question that comes to my mind is this: does the expansion of the internet to provided access to new technology help the industry or hurt it? Many different computer technologies have been introduced that actually create jobs, rather than remove them, but there are still those who are replaced when they cannot change their careers to react to the changes. So the final question is whether the cloud is indeed too high in the sky, and will it cause people to fall off as it continues to rise?

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