28 October 2008

Trusted Repository in the Clouds?

You may have seen that Microsoft has unveiled a cloud computing service, in which data and applications will not be stored on individuals' computers – (reported 27th October at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7693993.stm). The new platform, dubbed Windows Azure, was announced at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles as "Windows for the cloud". It will be offered alongside the next Windows release, Windows 7.

It is not surprising to see Microsoft taking on established players like Google and Amazon in the rapidly growing business of online software. One may ask, however, what guarantees Microsoft is likely to provide for the continued storage and preservation of data stored in the cloud. Consumers will already have asked similar questions when archiving their photographs or personal data files in online vaults.

As Gavin Clarke has reported (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/28/microsoft_blocks_azure_traffic/), if applications posted to the Azure services platform exceed their allocated storage or processing hours, users may actually be turned away. But never mind, while you might not be able to sign up new customers or do any business with your data, Microsoft will look after them. It has promised not to dump data. So that’s ok then.

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