Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter on the internet concerning cloud-based systems dethroning Microsoft Windows or Apple’s Mac OS X. Here is why I disagree and hope that this is not the direction we will be forced to move toward in the near future.
I can’t count the number of times that I have been in a location where internet access was intermittent at best and non-existent at worse. Yet, with my current laptop, I was able to still complete work-related tasks in PowerPoint, Word and Excel that were loaded locally on my machine. Try doing that in the cloud when the cloud isn’t available. If you want to perform this test for yourself, take a camping trip to Hungry Mother’s State Park in Virginia. If your work requires you to work in the cloud, this is a great place to totally get away since there was no cell phone service or wireless internet. It was a great vacation which I recommend highly, however, if I needed to do work, I had electric service at our tent site to charge my laptop and all of my apps are loaded locally on my Windows laptop. Good luck if you don’t have that luxury.
The claim is that you can still run your Windows apps using virtualization. I am a big fan of virtualization. It gives me the opportunity to work with my web apps in an environment that is separate from the network so I can try new functions without affecting anyone. However, it is much slower than running in a normal, non-virtualized environment. Much slower. Besides, if I have to run Windows in a virtual environment to run my Windows apps, I might as well be running them on a Windows machine to gain optimum performance.
I am not comfortable logging in to my work network from an unsecured wireless access point in the same way I don’t log into my bank account from one of these access points. So, if I am in a restaurant that has an unsecured access point, rather than logging into my work account, I have local copies of my work documents that I can update without requiring me to log in. Then when I connect at my work location, my laptop synchronizes the network copy with my local copy. To me, this is much safer than sending your login ID and password through an unsecured internet access point.
If a Windows or driver update puts my Windows machine out of commission, it’s no big deal. I can restore to a point prior to the update and I am back in business. Of course, I always force the system to create a new restore point before I install any updates or new software. This is something I would recommend to everyone. Now, if you own a cloud machine and one of their updates puts you out of commission, you are at their mercy, waiting for them to correct the issue. There is nothing you can do yourself to fix the issue.
Personally, I don’t see how these cloud systems can mitigate the risk of the issues I have listed above. Maybe, there will be new advances in this technology that will address these issues in the future, but until then, I am content and driven by necessity to continue to use Windows-based PCs and laptops.