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How much cloud computing are consumers going for?

By Jean-Claude Elias - Apr 13,2017 - Last updated at Apr 13,2017

It is worth stopping, thinking and taking stock of the current cloud computing situation, mainly among consumers.

If pundits estimate that the phenomenon as it is known today was launched circa 2006, it is only since 2011 that the wide public has started to be really affected — no negative meaning implied here by the term “affected”.

There has been a noticeable slowdown throughout the entire year 2016. Despite the obvious, constant and insisting push by the industry to make you do more in the cloud all the time, it looks like some plateau value has been reached at this point. 

Take the most obvious example of Microsoft’s Office 365, the cloud-based version of the company’s indispensable Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.). It is not only its maker that is pushing you to use it but also countless online services.

Godaddy, perhaps the world’s largest and most powerful company providing domain name registration, hosting, website hosting and e-mail hosting, wants you to subscribe to its e-mail service that is associated with Office 365. It is only when and if you insist that you only want “regular, plain” e-mail hosting, without Office 365, that Godaddy accepts to provide a subscription with “no cloud attached”.

On www.windowscentral.com John Callaham last week said that “there are now 1.2 billion Office users and 60 million Office 365 commercial customers”. This clearly shows that the vast majority still prefers to use local versions of Office, installed on their computer, and not cloud-based ones.

Whereas some users go for cloud computing, and for parts of their work and data only, the rest chooses to stick to more traditional computing forms and methods. It all looks like some sort of modus vivendi, some equilibrium has been reached at this point in time.

Just storing files and data in the cloud, however, as opposed to working on cloud applications, has certainly gained ground, with more and more people choosing to save data up there, including personal contents such as photos, videos and even accounts.

The two reasons that are preventing consumers from going fully cloud have not changed over the last four or five years. First is the fact that trust in the cloud, when it comes to data confidentiality, is not complete, and it will probably never be so. Second is Internet connectivity that is not as perfect as one would need it to be to make you want to work all the time from the cloud. This second point, understandably, greatly varies from country to country.

I have been experimenting for quite a while with three of the major cloud storage services out there: Dropbox, Google’s Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive, carrying the experiment in parallel on these three fronts, using actual data, intensively, and on a daily basis. None is perfect and all are useful and practical; I would say they complete each other. The average rating I would give them, the three of them combined, is 8 out of 10. I wish it were more in the range of 9.5 to 10. And this is just about straightforward storage, without any processing at all.

A large number of software products are gradually becoming available exclusively as cloud services. Despite the trend, a large number of users have decided to keep working locally and not remotely. 

Yet, Kim Weins (www.rightscale.com) last year stated that “private cloud adoption increased from 63 per cent to 77 per cent” in 2016. Other analysts estimate that the actual figure is more in the 55 to 58 per cent range.

 

Considering all the above it is reasonable to say that at this point in 2017 we are in a status quo and that the cloud computing trend is very slow, if not at a standstill.

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