Windows 365 - Cloud Desktops

As I start to type this, I am sure, either a miss remembered memory, or indeed an article I eagerly read in the free copy of Computer Weekly, that I would vicariously consume at my first proper IT job, sort of rings a distant bells about the whole concept of cloud computing. I am also fairly sure that a certain CEO of ORACLE in the 90's said that he would put the weight of his company, and the resources of its aligned partners into play to make this a reality. That was, I think from memory late 1999 - 2000's. Well like all good things, they need time to flourish, and, to be honest, back then most of the world had dial up, and therefore the biggest issue was speed. Even for corporates, ISDN was not the be all and end all of inter company computer communication. But we have moved on a pace since then, and most of us, at least those who are potential customers of services that are ubiquitous with cloud technology have speeds that are sufficiently adequate to provide you, and I with a comparable service. But I see that the likes of ORACLE are no where to be heard in the masses that are clambering now with newly found gusto to provide the ability to this end. Especially given the change in working patterns forced on us with pandemics.

The whole concept of you having a "dumb device" which as long as it can connect and broker a conversation with a rented distant data centre can allow you to run a computer desktop, that, with not much knowledge makes it possible to work from anywhere and have the same setup all the time (in theory) a reality. Even if the actual reality is that the whole concept of this is very old hat, its more like someone made the idea of Marmite, Haggis, or Tripe a much more accepted dish on the menu. After all the conceptual idea of client server computing was around at the beginning, think of this as a newer spin on it. As however you dress this up its still effectively the same as that of the computers of the 70's.

Lets face it Microsoft are arriving at a party that has been going on a while. Citrix, VMWARE, V2, Amazon, and don't even get me started on the raft of Open Source flavours of this genre of SaaS/DaaS. They are numerous. But all essentially they offer one thing. Massively lower TCO on hardware or a need for hardware to be refreshed. Centralised control and collaborative communications without a need for scaled costs. What more could you want.

Lets not forget the consumer either, they to can enjoy in as well, meaning that you basically can in the main for most not need to purchase expensive computers, just a noddy old laptop and a decent ISP and you can be running the latest and greatest. Albeit at a small ever increasing cost to you as a consumer.

One half of me likes this idea it does make a lot of sense. But sometimes you need to look beyond and flesh out the realities of what actually can and in some instance actually happen. Best comparable is Jurassic Park! the film. As long as the concept of bringing dinosaurs back to life is kept on a remote pacific island, 1000's of miles from the modern world, its fine, but when you crash one world into the other, you are asking for trouble.

I think where the whole concept of this worries me is personal freedom or choice, and lets not forget privacy. A thing we seldom sometime think of in the tangled socially media driven world we seem to inhabit. You see unfortunately most of us are blind when it comes to understanding what we are actually doing when we sign over to a cloud service. We forget and get caught up in the excitement of all the whistles and bells, we forgot, that what we are actually doing is handing over to these faceless, corporate giants our lives, in their entirety. They can use that information to infinite levels of diversity to increase their capital. They can expose you to things you never wanted, they can follow, spy, snoop, live your life vicariously at will, they can create and manipulate. Suddenly you are that dinosaur that is caught in the world that you are destined not to be in, and that can only lead to trouble for everyone.

That's where this whole concept for me falls down. I have no control, single point of trust, misleading and escalating promises and costs, the potential to hold your own information to ransom. The dictate to what you can and cannot do with your information. Worst of all, cyber attacks are only going to increase so in theory the criminal if he gains access can look inside your life and use that to create themselves wealth. The large companies don't vet who joins there "cloud" community, who is to say that you are not sharing your remote desktop on a server whose other occupants are criminals just squatting long enough to figure out how to obtain access, after all they are now on the inside

Maybe £30/$40 a month is ok if you are not that cynical. Maybe not being a dinosaur is a good thing. But for me I think I will remain committed to the model that works, where I control my data, and I have the ability to have a copy of all my comings and goings. Because as sure as the sun rises and sets, you can bet that these companies have already worked a plan out of how to make that £30/$40 a month sub double, quadruple. I would hazard a guess it is not by offering you more privacy, but by, using that very fact as a single point of gain.

Hey but, you are free to make you own minds up. But remember clouds tend to be temperamental and can empty their contents at will, and normally over everywhere! The other thing about clouds is it doesn't take a a lot to blow them away...

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