Last Christmas I, finally, had some time to read deeper and play around with some of the latest releases on the “virtual/cloud” world.
Playing with Office Live was a pleasant experience. Really powerful and with a different approach than the one offered by Google Docs & Spreadsheets. With the add-ins, you can share regular office documents on-line without loosing any office functionality; share a work session on-line. It is free. It worths a try.
I did notice that it is now easier to find Virtual Private Server Hosting on Windows and SharePoint Hosting services at really appealing prices. This has been a reality on the Unix world for some time. But, now it is becoming more clear that the real opportunities for cloud-based SaaS and IaaS solutions are more solid. The technology chosen is not that important: the End Value, the Service and the Economics seem to get focus.
Tools like Live Sync, Mesh.com, Office Live and SharedView are also astonishing experiences. I love to see how all those experiments compete with each other in this massive learning process we are living. The downside of this story is the effort we have to make to understand how those pieces fit in the global picture. No matter the role we play and no matter the moment considered. Too quick and too much to be able to cope with individual analysis (which is the value, the dos, the don'ts), comparative analysis (how this compares to Google's, etc.) and relationship/holistic analysis (integration, maturity, skills, live cycles, etc.) … Quick and Complex.
I don't hold a position to know and feel the size, the impact, the evolution and the trend of these changes. I can't tell if they are now mainstream or just another brand new niche.
Anyway, it seems to me that, today, is more clear that some boundaries are blurring away:
- between desktop/local and web/network: ShareView, Live Sync, Mesh.com, Office Live, Office for the Web, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Mashups, RIA, Thin Clients, What is today a Trusted/Untrusted subnet, etc.
- between local and mobile/distributed: Servers > Desktop PCs > Notebooks > Sub-notebooks > XDAs > SmartPhones, System-on-a-Chip, etc.
- between physical and virtual: Hardware partitioning, OS virtualization/partitioning/streaming, Application virtualization/streaming, Presentation virtualization/streaming, SaaS/IaaS, HPC, Windows Azure, Google AppEngine, etc.
- between internal and external: mixed orgatizations with outsourced/networked functions/processes, external Contractors working as internal employees for significant periods of times with their own technical resources (Notebooks, PDAs, network services, etc.), …
Last Christmas were nice, but it is always hard to think about how to keep up with Complexity and the Speed of Change -from a Market and, also, from an Individual perspective- when this process is not naturally inserted in your day-to-day activities… The more I learn, the smaller I feel… I wonder how to turn those identified risks into brilliant opportunities where the context shows up big chances for Error and Mistake… Everyone loves learning from errors whenever those don't belong to oneself… Of course, once they have happened, everyone knew that those errors were predictable… Everybody loves success and “no one fails”; everybody loves the brand new capabilities … ignoring the associated risks … you know? ;-).
What do you think? How do you feel?