A recent study conducted by Gartner concluded that the personal cloud is poised to replace the personal computer by 2014. According to the report,
“The personal cloud will begin a new era that will provide users with a new level of flexibility with the devices they use for daily activities, while leveraging the strengths of each device, ultimately enabling new levels of user satisfaction and productivity. However, it will require enterprises to fundamentally rethink how they deliver applications and services to users.”
What is the personal cloud?
The concept of the personal cloud arose largely because of how cloud-based resources provides users the flexibility to work with multiple devices. Gartner, as well as many other industry observers and experts, suggest that the personal cloud will become the new center of the user’s digital universe.
Cloud computing blogger David Linthicum comments,
“I’ve been living this life for some time now, with several computers and mobile devices all accessing the same cloud services: document sharing, file system, email, and so on. I’m not alone. In the past, I carried around one laptop with everything on it, and further back, I carried a box of 3.5-inch disks between my work and home tower computers. Things have changed for the better, and the use of consumer-oriented personal, public, and private clouds are the driving force… The game is shifting.”
According to Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner,
“Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices. Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life.”
Why the personal cloud?
Gartner’s analysis maintain that the rise of the personal cloud is not a huge surprise, given the trends that we’ve been experiencing in the IT world. Kleynhans commented, “Many call this era the post-PC era, but it isn’t really about being ‘after’ the PC, but rather about a new style of personal computing that frees individuals to use computing in fundamentally new ways to improve multiple aspects of their work and personal lives.”
A number of observable driving forces have combined to move us in this direction, including:
- Consumerization – Gartner’s study pointed out that consumerization trends have only been getting stronger for the better part of a decade, and this has influenced multiple aspects of the corporate IT world. Much of this is a precursor to the major trend that is starting to dominate almost all aspects of IT. This is a result of a number of key factors, including: 1) Users are more technologically knowledgeable than ever before and they have specific expectations of the technology they use; 2) The internet and social media have served to empower users; 3) The rise of powerful, yet affordable, mobile devices changes the equation for users; 4) Users have become innovators; and 5) Through the democratization of technology, users of all types and statuses within organizations can now have access to similar technology.
- Virtualization – The rise of virtualization has greatly improved flexibility and increased the options for how IT organizations are able to implement client environments. Virtualization has, to a certain extent, freed applications from the specifics of individual devices, operating systems or processor architectures. Virtualization offers a means to move the legacy of applications and processes developed in the PC era forward. This allows low-per devices to access much greater processing power, thus expanding utility and increasing what processor-intensive applications are able to do.
- Apps – The way that applications are designed, delivered and consumed by users has changed dramatically over the past few years, and this significantly impacts all other aspects of the market. Such changes impact the ways in which applications are written and managed in corporate environments and raise the potential for greater cross-platform portability as small user experience apps are used to adjust a server- or cloud-resident application to the unique characteristics of a specific device or situation.
- Self-Service Cloud – With the self-service cloud, every user can access a scalable and almost infinite set of resources for the tasks they need to complete. This means that users’ digital activities are more self-directed than before. Users are able to make their own decisions regarding applications, services and content, selecting from an almost limitless collection on the internet. This fosters a strong culture of self-service that users come to expect in all aspects of their digital experience.
- Mobility – Today’s mobile devices accessing cloud-based services are able to complete most computing tasks. The development and popularity of more natural or intuitive user interface experiences make mobility more practical. Touch- and gesture-based user interfaces, combined with speech and contextual awareness allow users to interact with their mobile devices with increasing ease and convenience.
This article examines a Gartner report entitled, The New PC Era: The Personal Cloud, which suggests that the personal cloud will replace the personal computer by 2014. The personal cloud offers users increased flexibility with the devices they already use for daily computing needs. This shift requires enterprises to reconsider how they deliver applications and services to their users.
CCSK Exam Preparation
In preparation for the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK), a security professional should be comfortable with topics related to this post, including:
- Cloud service models (Domain 1)
- Portability (Domain 6)
- Provider selection (Domain 8)
- Recommended provider tools and capabilities (Domain 9)
- Virtualization (Domain 13)