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Déjà vu – Cloud Computing, Thin Clients, SaaS and Collaborative Computing

Posted by on Sep 02, 2010 - 12:05 AM

It has all happened before

If you have been paying any attention to the world of IT and particularly IT in business – you may have noticed something very strange. If you feel like you are in some kind of ground hog day scenario or have perhaps suffered brain damage, let me put your mind at ease…

We are going to cut through the hype, buzz and hyperbole

Important Note: I hate the term “paradigm shift”, but I will be using it in this article, as this area is where it is used to death.

Very Important Note: The Internet was an actual Paradigm shift (Business and Social), Twitter was not, for anyone, full stop, you idiots.

Most technologies hold value and benefits – It is all about implementation and usage.

Almost all of the Buzz related “major” breakthroughs and paradigm shifts you have been hearing about for the last few years are in fact just re-branded IT approaches that in some cases go back to the 70s.

Glamour, buzz, fanatical marketing and hype should never be the point.

I am a very passionate and optimistic person – so I am always keen to find out, try, research and learn about new and emerging technology – even those that I have seen before.

Anyone that knows me is fully aware I love technology, I love business, I love innovating and I love working with companies that are innovative.

We do Cloud Computing, SaaS, Thin Clients and Collaborative Computing so this is not a technology hate article – This article is about helping people see past the hype and make choices based on business benefits.

We are also (as a company) crazy about developing new technology, systems, businesses and business approaches - So we are comfortable cutting through the hype our industry sometimes relies on.

That is my disclaimer for why this article isn’t the rant of a mad man who lives in a bunker and thinks the radio is cutting edge.

The Point?

It is important for my businesses and my clients businesses that we know the difference between technologies of true business value and those that come complete with a ton of “Buzz” – The “Buzz” won’t pay the bills (at least not yours) and it should never be the reason a choice is made.

So let us list the greatest technologies of the last few years

  1. Cloud Computing
  3. SaaS – Software as a Service
  5. Thin Clients
  7. Collaborative Computing

The King of Repeat

We need to start with the master of repeat: Networking Architecture - centralised and de-centralised networking
A lot of the technology reboots are based upon the shift of this paradigm.
The move from keeping everything on the server (Centralised) to keeping everything spread out on the network (De-Centralised) just keeps going round and round. The key is understanding when to do Centralised and when to do De-Centralised.

Forget what is in vouge – think application.

You can even do both, and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t or shouldn’t!

Let’s look At Our List

1. Cloud Computing

Back in the day, computers were so expensive, only universities, governments and large companies had them. So what did that mean for everyone else, and even those within those organisations?

Well, even those in the organisation didn’t have a computer on their desks – I am going back to the days of the mainframe. The time that Cloud Computing (by a different name) started.

Everyone in the organisation or university had to share the mainframe, time and resources were allocated and that is how computing happened.

Some companies and universities allowed others, from outside, to use their time and CPU resources… They even let different people, use the mainframe at the same time, with resources, (sometimes) elastically (if you will) allocated to each group.

They often did this from “Thin-Clients” or Terminals away from the mainframe… Perhaps, over a network of sorts…

If you have been following Cloud Computing over the last couple of years, you will see that what you have just read is Cloud Computing. At least in principal and function.

If you haven’t been following cloud computing… Well, now you know.

2. SaaS – Software as a Service

Depending how you choose to look at it, SaaS has been around a long time. It is essentially the re-branding (as Cloud Computing is) of technology used decades ago.

The key is that SaaS has become “exciting” again through Internet delivery. Very often, delivered from the “Cloud”

When considering SaaS – Think about what it means for your business, why you would move to this model and how it will affect things beyond price and hype.

Just because everyone is talking SaaS, doesn’t mean it is right for you.

3. Thin Clients

Again, this is an oldie! Even the term dates back to 1993 – The technology itself goes back to the 70s.

Remember this article is about technology repeating itself through hype – not if the tech is good or bad – as we always say, it is the implementation and purpose that matters.

See our article about Thin Clients – there are definitely times you would want to use it.

Thin Clients are essentially “dumb” devices or terminals that have the functionality delivered to them over the Internet or network.

This is how it was done in the days of mainframes. Thus, history repeats again.

4. Collaborative Computing

Everyone is pretty crazy for Collaborative and Social Computing these days.

Let’s focus on this in a business sense

The Collaborative movement really got going in the 1990s as networks and graphical interfaces improved sufficiently to allow for the applications required.

If you have used or have read about “Groupware” you would know that this software generally sucked, was poorly designed and it didn’t necessarily improve the quality of the tasks being undertaken.

Was it just the design of the software you ask? Well, that is the subject of another article…

The point here is that the hype, craze and “branding” of this technology as new and a total “paradigm” shift is just another blast from the past.

Get In Touch

If you want to chat about business technology with a company that knows the difference between hype and value – You know where to find us.