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Mobile Applications - Clouds on the Horizon?

30 октября 2009

Are those storm clouds on the horizon?  There’s much talk in IT circles these days about the power and benefits of cloud computing.  Is there potential for cloud computing to bring that power and those benefits to the mobile Internet?

Cloud computing, virtualization, desktop virtualization, all of these emerging technology solutions bring forward a promises of an optimization of infrastructure, operating systems and applications.  When properly deployed these solutions also promise to deliver operational savings through enhanced availability, scalability and manageability.  In the eyes of a typical CIO or IT director these are all very compelling propositions that will require attention and consideration.

For the mobile Internet, these new technologies bring some very interesting opportunities.  One of the stand-out benefits of the potential of cloud computing for the mobile Internet is its ability to relieve smartphones and mobile Internet devices (MID) of some of the burden of processing and storing data.  From a user’s perspective this could mean that one no longer needs to have the most current and powerful device in hand to access the most current and powerful applications.  It also could mean that there may be extended life and power available in that seemingly “last generation” smartphone.  In a perfect world of mobile cloud computing those users who have devices that support browsers will access applications through browsers.  Those who don’t have the required browser support may download an application that provides access to the virtualized application that resides in the cloud.  In either case, the heavy processing and storage chores are left to the capabilities and capacities of the cloud.

From a developer’s perspective, mobile cloud computing goes a long way to reducing one of the more challenging aspects of creating pervasive mobile applications - the myriad mobile devices and their operating systems that need to be supported.  Developers also must also consider how their applications are distributed.  The power of  mobile browser accessible applications suggests that mobile cloud computing has the potential to provide a more open distribution environment for mobile applications.  Developers in this environment will be able to focus their creative energies on creating compelling applications rather than being consumed with what platform, carrier or business model is best aligned to successfully distribute their products.

So, with all of the benefits and promise to the mobile Internet, what’s standing in the way of a broad adoption of mobile cloud computing and virtualization?  Lately one of the hot topics of cloud computing has been data security.  While one might naturally assume that managing data security in a more centralized environment where security policies can be almost ubiquitously applied, could only be a positive attribute.  Users of T-Mobile’s Sidekick might not agree.  On October 1 users of the device, manufactured by Danger Incorporated, a subsidiary of Microsoft experienced a loss of data functionality.  As a result of the outage some users encountered a loss of their personal data such as address books, calendars, etc.  T-Mobile later informed those users that their data  “almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger.”  Such an event, while not isolated,  underscores one of the more critical infrastructure considerations for a robust mobile cloud computing environment.

As adoption of virtualization and cloud computing in enterprise environments begins to gain a foothold will the power of the mobile Internet tap into the potential as well?  Do those clouds on the mobile applications horizon have silver linings and will the future be “looking up”?

Источник: 4G Trends

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