One of the major drivers of cloud computing is the widespread use of different devices at the workplace and at home. Businesses now allow access to their systems through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets as well as through the usual mediums.
“There are more access devices out there now and companies need to think differently about the way they provide access to their information and data. It’s very much driving people into the cloud space because if you are going to go and allow all of your employees to access data on those devices you are going to have to approach it in a different way,” Paul Gullett, VP EMEA, NComputing tells AMEinfo.com.
“Now people want to use all these different devices it is driving people towards thinking how they move towards that cloud computing environment but fundamentally centralising data and applications within an organisation. Once you start to do that, what you should then be thinking about is; what is the right device to access all of this data and information?” Gullett adds.
One answer to this question, and one which NComputing is behind, is desktop virtualisation which essentially separates a desktop PC environment from a physical machine in order to create a client server model. The desktop of a user is hosted remotely, and utilised using an access device.
Three areas of opportunity in cloud computing
For other companies cloud computing presents different opportunities. “It’s an area of three basic markets for us,” explains Jan Stoetzel, director, product marketing, managed infrastructure and infrastructure as a service, Fujitsu.
“One is the classic as a service part, which can be anything from infrastructure platform to software as a service,” he continues. “Then we have a set of private cloud enabling solutions which is basically a fixed stack of components regarding server, infrastructure, architecture and some middleware which allows customers to build their own private clouds, on the basis of our standard stacks. And we have a line-up of classical servers which are dedicatedly developed for the cloud environment.”
All of Fujitsu’s cloud computing offerings are based on the private cloud. Stoetzel suggests this is because there is no great call for public cloud services in Fujitsu’s home country of Japan as of yet. NComputing’s services are also geared towards the private cloud. Gullet indicated that this appeals to different sectors more than others, but attitudes are shifting. “Traditionally our strong markets have been government and education. With the advent of our newer products what we are seeing globally is a lot more enterprise organisations are becoming very interested and we are seeing this reflected in the Middle East,” he states.
Limitations remain in cloud computing
The cloud is not without its limitations, however. There are the much documented legal issues surrounding data being stored in areas with different legislation. It is an area where Stoetzel believes the Middle East needs to work to improve. “It’s a little more difficult [in the Middle East] than in the EU where you have the same legally binding standards and its easier for customers for example from Belgium to host their stuff in Poland or in Germany or the UK because they have common legal standards and that is not in place in this MENA region.”
“I’m pretty sure that the governments are working on something to find some common ground otherwise it will limit the growth of this enormous opportunity for them,” he adds.
Another issue with cloud computing is its reliance on standardisation. If everyone is to use an application or network, then it must be standardised to suit them all. This is an area where the public cloud particularly can struggle. “It only works with standardised applications. So we will not see the large legacy applications of customers in the cloud within the next five to ten years but anything which can be seen as standard, this is something e can expect to see in the cloud,” reveals Stoetzel.
Despite its limitations, the concept of cloud computing offers IT companies such a broad range of opportunities that it will remain to mean different things to different people for a long time yet – and this will not hinder it. It’s a buzz word which will stay buzzing for quite a while longer.
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