Crunched for time? Get in the cloud.

I am really busy these days, but a bunch of things have just been in the news that I need to comment on.

I’m working on the infrastructure for a new phase of QA testing that we are doing on a product. The infrastructure consists of a variety of physical computers, about fifty in all. Managing and maintaining them is more time consuming than the cloud-based computers I work with. The increased amount of attention and time that physical computers take is why I wonder about these things that I’ve read.

First, New York City has entered a “money-saving partnership” with Microsoft, signing up for some massive licensing. Fortunately this includes some cloud-based infrastructure, but it’s unfortunate that the city did not compare the Microsoft solution with something like Google Apps, or with open-source solutions like Libre Office. Since we are paying the taxes that are being used to pay for these services, shouldn’t we be getting the best deal? So, NYC, please call me when you’re ready to talk about your infrastructure.

Have you ever been shivering from the cold in a data center while waiting on hold for the URL to a service pack because everyone’s email is down? I have, and I never want to do it again. I’m sure no one in the city wants to do it either. Why not let Google freak out about keeping your systems up all of the time so you can do some things that really matter. That’s what the cities of Los Angeles and Washington DC do (along with a lot of other people).

Microsoft is also in the news for something else too: Ray Ozzie, their chief software architect, is stepping down. Ozzie seems like a sharp guy and was behind a lot of good things at Microsoft (yes, this is one of the few times you will hear me complimenting Microsoft). He’s asking his colleagues to “close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like, if it were to ever truly occur.’’ Guess what dude — we are in a post-PC world already.

Can I say that  more people are interacting with technology that’s in the cloud via their cellphones than through their PCs? Probably not, but I will tell you that what’s going on in the cloud and mobile space is a lot more interesting than the PC space. Will PCs even be relevant in a few years? We’ll see. Also interesting to note is that these articles indicate that no one will take Ozzie’s place as chief software architect. That makes me wonder about who’s driving the bus there. This probably doesn’t mean MS is going to just dry up and disappear, but will they ever be innovators again?

Well, enough pondering for now, I have to get back to punching power buttons and checking for failed hard drives — things that you never have to do in the cloud.