Where is your data? Changing attitudes about on-line storage.

25 September 2008

One issue that people often mention with off-site virtualized or cloud computing systems is the loss of control of their “data”. The adults in the crowd grew up with paper, floppy disks, local storage on hard drives, removeable hard drives, CD Roms and more recently DVDs and USB sticks. The data was always at hand. We could point to it and know it was safe and we’d protect it.

The new world of virtualization and cloud computing is changing this. Companies are outsourcing their IT needs and on-line services such as SalesForce are gaining traction. In both cases, the data is no longer in the direct control of the company that owns it. This requires a level of trust that the supplier will not abuse the data or allow it to be compromised. It has been a tough sell with the adults.

Not with the kids. Kids these days are growing up with web services and social media. All the data starts being “out there” and they have grow used to it to the point that it is normal. On-line E-mail services are common, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, Fickr, YouTube, are all about sharing data. Google docs, Zoho, Apple’s Mobile Me and other web 2.0 services like them provide on-line storage. Virtual desktops are gaining in popularity – and the young crowd is using them at an increasing rate. . Their digital stuff is out there – on the web, in someone else’s control – and that is just fine. They do not want a local copy because they use computers like terminals and they want to get at their stuff from where ever they are, on what ever device.

When the kids reach adulthood, I’m sure they will change the attitude in industry as well.

Local storage will become, well – so 2001.