Cloud services have lots of allure–depend on someone else for the routine maintenance and management, sit back and enjoy the ride. So far this has worked well…people run their payroll, VoIP systems, CRM, conferencing, data storage and backup, security systems, and lots of ‘heartbeat’ applications on someone else’s servers, in some unknown place.
This all works well as long as there’s no worry about the data being lost or stolen, as long as these ‘cloud’ contracts continue (what happens to your data when the contract’s up?), and as long as the Internet remains reliable. Pollyanna would love this arrangement! But at some time cracks will begin to show in the unremittingly cloud service alternative, and the pendulum will swing back in the direction of on-premises services. It may be worthwhile to think about having a ‘local cloud’ service: the applications and some data stored locally, and managed remotely from some other place. This would then be the better combination of a ‘hands-off’ posture and immunity from data loss and communications outages. Data and applications delivered locally, with management able to be interrupted by network issues.
Heartbeat applications like VoIP call control might do best locally; fax services associated with VoIP systems might well be left in the cloud, where periodic interruptions in service could be tolerated.
Anyway, expect that pendulum to start swinging at least partially in the local service direction. More unexplained outages like the Skype outage of a few weeks ago might just convince people to embrace the ‘local cloud’ profile. BOB