iCloud Showdown: Apple iCloud Vs. Its Top 5 Competitors

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06:  Apple CEO Steve ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Apple iCloud Makes A Splash

Apple’s iCloud, though it won’t hit the market officially until the fall, has already made a tremendous splash. As the lynchpin of Apple’s cloud strategy, iCloud promises to allow users to automatically save content like photos, music, documents and more into the cloud so it is accessible from up to 10 devices. During the Apple iCloud Launch, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said iCloud will work on iOS, PC and Mac devices. According to Apple, iCloud users get 5 GB of storage for free for mail, documents, photos, account information, setting and other app data. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the free storage limits.

Read more [here].

What is Cloud Computing?

Geek speak
Man Relaxing At Office Desk In a Green FieldCloud Computing isn’t really new but the term caught on a few years ago. Cloud Computing simply means accessing resources and using services over the internet. Almost everyone in the West has been using cloud services for more than a decade.

Some examples of Cloud Computing are online banking, buying music from iTunes, electronic books, movie services like Netflix, Gmail and even Facebook. To be even more specific it is internet-based computing, whereby shared “resources” (servers, disk space, firewalls, backup, software and the services needed to install and support it) are provided to users’ personal computer, laptop and other devices on-demand, like a utility (electricity, water, etc.).

SaaS, or “Software as a Service” is a cloud computing service. The hardware, software and support required to host and deliver the application is the sole responsibility of the SaaS provider, not the end user. The end user only pays for the service of using the software on an as-needed subscription basis or simply uses the service.

Bringing the Cloud down to earth
The best way to illustrate what Cloud Computing is and why it’s spreading like wildfire is to compare it to the modern electric utility industry. On September 4, 1882, Thomas Edison opened the Pearl Street electricity generating station in New York city, introducing the concept of electricity as a utility. There were four key elements introduced by Edison’s concept of electricity as utility that were, previously, unheard of: 

  1. Reliable central generation, 
  2. Efficient distribution,
  3. Successful end use (in 1882, the light bulb), and
  4. Competitive price.

Up until 1882, factories or other entities requiring electrical power were required to build and maintain their own generators – a very expensive, time consuming distraction for most companies whose core business centered on producing a product or other service. The idea of being able to pay for electricity as a utility as opposed to producing it on their own was a highly-attractive proposition for businesses who didn’t want the cost and distraction of producing their own power.

Cloud Computing is essentially offering the same promise to businesses today.  Very few people or businesses generate their own electricity with generator or windmill and live off the grid.  Until recently, the cost of building and maintaining your own computer network in house has been a “necessary evil” of running a business. But now, thanks to major advancements in Internet connectivity and technology, businesses can simply pay for basic IT necessities on a “utility” basis. Of course, Cloud Computing isn’t ideal for everyone just yet and we will see a period of hybrid networks where businesses have some applications in the cloud and others on site; but it IS a much smarter, lower-cost way of meeting basic computing needs (e-mail, spreadsheets, word processing, backup, and file sharing for example).

So Cloud Computing is like trading in your generator and all the related cost and upkeep of doing it on your own and connecting to the grid for electricity. You pay a monthly fee and it just works. Cool, huh?

Why would a business owner choose cloud computing over a traditional network?

  • The cost of buying, installing and supporting a computer network goes down dramatically.
  • You gain greater flexibility in accessing your computer network (files, applications, etc.) remotely and from various devices (laptop, iPad, Blackberry, etc).
  • You gain the benefit of having built-in disaster recovery and data backup.
  • You can purchase cheaper workstations (devices) and get them to last longer since the computing “power” is in the cloud and not on the individual workstation.
  • Since you are paying for the service like a utility, it’s cheaper and easier to add and remove workers from your network.
  • You avoid hefty network upgrade costs.
  • You no longer need to pay for someone to maintain your network (server, firewall, patch management, backups, etc.)

What cloud computing is NOT
There is a lot of Cloud Computing mumbo jumbo out there. The term “Cloud Computing” gets thrown around a lot and is often used to describe the following services, which are only pieces of a Cloud Computing solution. As a business owner you shouldn’t need to deal with all the geek-Greek. You should leave that to a Cloud specialist like Paruzia.

Business Benefits Of Cloud Computing

  • Eliminates capital expenditures for hardware, software, networking equipment
  • Ensures automatic software licensing compliance
  • Eliminates the business risk associated with owning and managing computer technology
  • Reduces administrative overhead and associated costs
  • Liberates existing IT staff to refocus on strategic, business building objectives and projects
  • Maximizes business productivity with anytime, anywhere and any device availability for users
  • Built-in, state-of-the-art business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities
  • Financial flexibility and control over IT spending

Learn about Cloud Computing for your business

Technology Made Human

Apple goes on WWDC-related domain buying spree

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06:  Apple CEO Steve ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

June 9, 2011 12:09 PM PDT – by

The same day Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference, the company staked its claim on domain names that include keywords of features in iCloud, iOS 5, and Mac OS X Lion.
Whois records dug up by TechCrunch show the company purchased at least 50 domain names. Some go directly to feature pages on Apple’s Web site, while others dead end or show up as not yet being hosted.

Read more [here].

Why Apple’s Ping Stumble May Help Google Music

Image representing iTunes as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Click around for early opinions of Ping, Apple’s new social network for music, and you’ll start seeing the same complaints: It’s like a crowded room with the lights out; it’s impossible to find your friends, especially without Facebook or Gmail integration; the artist community is non-existent, except for a few Apple partners promoting the service. (Why else would Ping “recommend” we all follow Lady Gaga, Yo-Yo Ma, and Rick Rubin?) Boil it all down, and the early consensus is that the oft-flawless company, with Ping, has stumbled to serve consumers, distanced itself from record labels, and even aided Google.

Read more at http://www.fastcompany.com/1686882/why-apples-ping-stumble-may-help-google-music

Steve Jobs on why no Facebook for Ping

Image representing iTunes as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

On Wednesday at the Apple music event in San Francisco, I had a short chat with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as he strolled through the demo room for the media, just after he had announced various updates for the iPod, Apple TV, and iTunes onstage.

One of the those was the introduction of a new social network for music called Ping that Apple has integrated within iTunes 10 and which looks an awful lot like the experience you get on Facebook.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20015402-37.html