“The computer industry is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion and cloud computing is simply the latest fashion.” – Larry Ellison, Co-Founder and CEO, Oracle.
This video has been embedded in my brain for a whole week and after going for the Interop Mumbai Conference, I’m absolutely thrilled the way things are moving with the so called “Cloud Hype”. Yes, its old stuff in a new bottle but it still sells. The Internet has enabled a bigger network for all and Cloud Computing is going to change the way businesses and home users compute.
Zenith Infotech launched a bold new initiative called PROUD during Interop Mumbai 2009. PROUD will enable a bunch of Zenith Thin Clients (they don’t like their terminals being referred as this) to connect to a Private Cloud Rack on boot up. All the thin clients are Atom based machines with small form factors and feature a bootloader which loads a Virtualised Operating System from the Private Cloud Rack. The purpose of such an initiative is to solve the long dilemma that companies have faced with managing licences for their software and to provision the right software resources to the right people. The Private Cloud Rack is a bunch of blades with Open Source Networking Architecture, Open Source Storage Architecture and Zen Server Virtualization. They’ve put a web interface over this and given a data center offering which can be kept in an office. So all an IT administrator needs to do is create the required virtual machines for his organisation and all of them will run on the blades with the thin client connecting on bootup. So a user can log in from any thin client in the office and access his desktop with the applications which he requires. According to Mr Akash Saraf, CEO Zenith Infotech, a 20 user offering will be available for approximately Rs. 300,000 ( $USD 6500 ).
With quantum leaps in the amount of bandwidth being made available to end users in India, there is going to be some serious competition in the Private Cloud space. Airtel has launched a 16 Mbps Plan which is also going to start a new wave of cloud based offerings. Airtel has tied up with a company called Nivio to offer a remote desktop interface for customers. They intend to offer their services to existing Airtel Subscribers and also launch a new thin client, Atom based machine for below Rs 8000 ($USD 180) which will connect to Nivio and give a customer access to an online desktop. Nivio users will also be able to access their online desktop from any place with a fast connection. As per the last update Nivio and Airtel will give customers a version of windows and 5 GB of Space for a monthly fee which can be as low as Rs 300 ($USD 7). None of the costs are confirmed so we will have to wait and see.
So the future is going to be very “Cloudy” in a positive way, as many computing services are going to be a mixture of private and public clouds.