What you might have missed: 5 recent developments in cloud computing

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

The cloud continues to expand and develop at a phenomenal rate. Here’s a roundup of five recent developments in the field and what they mean for business.

There is a consensus that the cloud and cloud software is now unavoidable. Little surprise then, that vendors and technologists alike are constantly pushing the boundaries to create new products and services.

1. IBM invests $8 million in Spanish cloud data center

Computing giant IBM is keen to regain ground lost to Amazon and Google who were quicker to market with their cloud propositions. To this end, IBM has opened its 26th cloud centre in Spain at a cost of $8 million.

So what? By making greater investment in cloud infrastructure, IBM can improve their global coverage, service offering, competitiveness and price.

2. Cloud-powered vending machine improves customer personalisation

SAP Hana has developed a new touchscreen vending machine that uses cloud software technologies to provide a value-added experience for consumers.

The vending machine has a smartphone inside so we transmit every single transaction to the cloud and then we can run analytics. For example, to replenish the machines, we measure the inventory, and if the machine is close to being empty, we send a truck to fill it up.” – Christian Busch, SAP Labs.

So what? The cloud is perfect for analytics processing as it scales to meet demand, without requiring capital investment up front. Expect to see more “dumb” devices being equipped with smart technology to increase sales and improve customer experience.

3. Amazon launches free cloud services for startups

The democratisation of the cloud allows SMEs to access enterprise grade software, like Cloud CRM, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional on site install. Amazon is helping smaller businesses move their infrastructure to the cloud by providing free access to Amazon Web Services to startups.

Startups operate in a world of high uncertainty and limited capital, so an elastic and on-demand infrastructure at low and variable cost aligns very naturally with their needs.” – Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon.

So what? As well as gaining access to flexible computing resources that adjust to demand, startup businesses will also find themselves becoming heavily reliant on the AWS service.

4.  Improved encryption

News that security agencies can access cloud-based data seemingly at will has encouraged greater interest in online encryption. Encrypting files makes it impossible to search their contents, even by authorised users.

Technology such as CipherCloud’s new Searchable Strong Encryption (SSE) allows businesses to parse their data without compromising on security.

So what? Businesses will need to encrypt their data in the Cloud to prevent unauthorised access or theft of IP.

5. The return of the thin client

An increased emphasis on mobility means that employees need to access data and systems across a variety of devices any place, any time. Hosted desktops, or cloud-based virtual machines, provide all the benefits of a physical PC, but at a fraction of the price.

We are very serious about enabling BYOD [bring your own device] by means of desktop virtualization.” – Michael Roth, Most Valued Professional for desktop services at Microsoft.

So what? Access to legacy systems prohibits a fully-mobile workforce. By shifting to hosted desktop solutions, staff have access to all systems from anywhere, providing the same user experience in the process.

+ The Continuing Problem of Cloud-Washing

As the cloud becomes ever more popular, so too does the trend towards software and CRM systems being marketed as ‘cloud’, while their functionality and features don’t always quite stack up. 

So what? With a cloud-washed system, companies can find themselves paying extra for services and set-up, or even end up with a system that doesn’t support flexibility or mobility for employee data access. I’ve written more elsewhere about how to tell true cloud from fake cloud.

Have you read about any interesting developments in cloud technology recently?

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