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Windows Cloud Microsoft Operating Systems Technology

Can Windows 8 Succeed In a Cloud-Based World? 213

Posted by timothy
from the where-does-your-computer-end? dept.
New submitter Nerval's Lobster writes "To say that Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 8 is a bit of an understatement. The upcoming OS needs to prove that Windows can stay relevant in a world where desktop-based programs are increasingly giving way to cloud apps, and mobile devices are eclipsing PCs as the center of people's computing lives. Can Windows 8 succeed in that mission? The real answer will have to wait, but in the meantime I've laid out some potential success-or-failure factors over at SlashCloud."
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Can Windows 8 Succeed In a Cloud-Based World?

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  • I challenge! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:43PM (#40144121)
    I doubt the validity of both the claims and the question in this article. I dont see "desktop-based programs are increasingly giving way to cloud apps" nor do I see the client OS as a factor in cloud computing (isn't that the whole point?).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd also throw in that for computing privacy, desktop-based software still leads the way. Web traffic is data mined and sold as is the personal data we put out there on the net. But I can still edit a photo on my desktop in private.

    • Re:I challenge! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:05PM (#40144507)

      Agreed. Cloud based systems are a cachet that finds itself most useful for people who are highly mobile, even a low range laptop or netbook these days has vastly more computing power than is needed to operate every application most people might need. Data storage on USB drives and other mini systems are also well capable of absorbing a lot more data than most people produce. I mean any computer capable of playing a modern computer game can do almost any other task with ease, and cloud computing isn't useful for most of those other tasks.

      The "cloud" is being heavily promoted for a variety of fairly obvious reasons, but to me its a solution looking for a problem, with as much value as thin client systems have.

      • by jythie (914043)
        I would say it is not even a solution looking for a problem.. it is an old solution solving the same problems it did before, only rebranded and getting a lot more attention by consumers. Once the type settles down, I am guessing, not much will change. Use cases that lend themselves to this type of client/server system will continue to use them, while use cases that lend themselves to local computing will continue to use them.
        • I would say it is not even a solution looking for a problem.. it is an old solution solving the same problems it did before, only rebranded and getting a lot more attention by consumers. Once the type settles down, I am guessing, not much will change. Use cases that lend themselves to this type of client/server system will continue to use them, while use cases that lend themselves to local computing will continue to use them.

          Christ. Does this mean we will have to go though all of this again? Maybe by that time I'll be senile enough to not notice.

          • by jythie (914043)
            Yep. And in another 15 years we will go through it again.. and again.. and again. The pendulum between server-centric and workstation-centric stuff keeps going back and forth.
            • by Vancorps (746090)

              Given that you can take your virtual desktop offline and on the road with you I'm not so sure it'll swing back. From a corporate perspective it's a no brainer. When you abstract the work from the hardware a lot of options that never existed before gain traction. My favorite example is fully 3d capable Autocad running on an iPad. I hate the iPad but it's pretty cool to take the tablet to the meeting, mark-up your changes, then connect to your virtual desktop from your workstation and continue where you left

              • He's always got his desktop with fast local access to network resources

                The key word here is local resources. That's where the cloud tends to fall down, especially for the sorts of live action personal productivity apps that are common in the workplace. This category would include general office productivity (document editor, spreadsheet, presentation builder, etc), engineering and drafting (AutoCAD et al), video editing and graphics (Adobe Suite), or software development (Eclipse, Visual Studio, X-Code, etc). The losses as cloud apps lag and try to keep up are especially notic

    • Re:I challenge! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sir_Sri (199544) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:22PM (#40144773)

      *some* desktop applications are going cloud ish, especially things that can be done on the web, and new technologies (that are mostly built from the ground up to be web products) are OS independent.

      And sure, for those solutions windows is no better and no worse than its competitors. Even if that becomes 99% of computer use time. It's still the rest of the time that is the differentiating factor that Windows competes in. To give an extreme contrived example: imagine 99% of my computer use can be done in a webbrowser, in the cloud. the other 1% is diablo 3. Now, I can run diablo 3 on mac or windows and linux. If I just spent 600 or 700 dollars in computing hardware 'extra' to play diablo 3 am I going to now avoid spending another 100 or so on an operating system if that makes it perform better? That's where windows has to compete. They have to do all of the stuff you can't do in the cloud better than everyone else. Better can mean a lot of different things to different people of course.

      Admittedly, the question sort of implies a connection with Office and Windows, which is fair enough, if not all that clear in the summary. How office will survive, when there are cloud document systems that are much more reliable than traditional office on a desktop ever can be might be fair question, but that's why windows 8 is integrating skydrive and all that stuff, and office is as well.

    • You're absolutely right. The PC is not going away for serious work or for gaming. So whether or not Windows 8 will survive does not depend on the evolution of the cloud. Personally, I think Windows will be around for a long time to come. If only because of there gigantic install-base. It is possible that Windows will, slowly, lose some of this install-base to linux but this will not happen suddenly. And Windows surely won't lose it to tablets or smartphones.
    • Back in the pre-Web Days. We bought PC's and we ran important business software on them. These software for the most part did the following...
      There is a form you needed to fill out, based on you answers it would bring you do a different form, and at some point save the data... These apps were the majority of the apps. These are now pushed to Web based interfaces, because you are wasting your time trying to deploy across many systems, having a shared location, or open the firewall more so you can access th

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:45PM (#40144173)

    Sounds like bullshit world to me...

    Tell you what: the "cloud" hype will come crashing down the minute some big company that invested massively in off-site services and storage loses internet connection for a few hours...

    • by magarity (164372)

      Big companies make private clouds for their mission critical server needs. Public cloud services are for, well, the public and their consumer level devices.

      • Big companies make private clouds for their mission critical server needs.

        Those are called datacenters. Yep, big companies are using them for a long, long time. They also like to keep their private cloud local, to not depend on internet conectivity.

      • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:05PM (#40144511) Journal

        Even a "private cloud" can cause troubles.

        I used to work for a place with manufacturing facilities in Oregon and California. All of production (stupidly) relied on a BI cluster located in OR. In spite of numerous demands to have it made redundant, the dumbass IT head insisted that dual connections (through two differing carriers) would supply sufficient redundancy.

        What he didn't count on was a (IMHO drunk) CAL-TRANS worker accidentally digging up a few fibers, which in turn knocked all of Ventura County into the dark for almost a day - including both carriers. When that went down, so did production. 17+ hours at ~$4500/minute downtime gets awful expensive. A backup/replicated cluster at the CA site would have only cost about 3-4 hours of that time at most, but would have saved them a whole lot more.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Tell you what: the "cloud" hype will come crashing down the minute some big company that invested massively in off-site services and storage loses internet connection for a few hours...

      In fairness, people said the exact same thing about outsourcing of things like your IT infrastructure.

      There's loads of companies that farm out their storage and a few other things like that.

      That doom and gloom didn't come true either.

      Companies are more interested in saving money than incurring a small amount of downtime (depe

    • by srmalloy (263556)

      The whole 'cloud computing' thing seems to me to depend on three things: First, do you trust that the server(s) for your apps are going to have both 100% uptime and 100% connectivity, second, do you trust that your data is going to be secure both stored in the cloud and in transit to/from the app server(s), and third, what is the cost of moving your data between cloud storage, the app servers, and your local machines compared with having both the data and apps local?

      Now, I can see where cloud computing coul

      • I work at a small company where we used to have a server colocated for $300 a month which included unlimited bandwidth and bit level backup. Not a bad deal. About a year ago we decided to switch to AWS. We are now paying approx $200 give or take 20 bucks. After moving we have never had downtime, and also have great scalability. Oh, we also have 4 servers running 3 micro, and 1 medium. It was well worth the move, the scalability alone is amazing.
      • I think the 'will the cloud guarantee 100% uptime for your apps' thing is a bit of a red herring. I can't guarantee 100% even if it's inhouse. Though, obviously, I know the failure modes a bit more.

        I think there's a huge subset of IT departments out there that are not as technically skilled as {Amazon,Google,Azure,etc.}. For them, they won't worry about this part as much.

        Granted, there are a lot of other things to worry about once your data hits "the cloud" but for uptime only, I'd trust a Google engineer m

    • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:04PM (#40144479) Journal

      Sounds like bullshit world to me...

      Tell you what: the "cloud" hype will come crashing down the minute some big company that invested massively in off-site services and storage loses internet connection for a few hours...

      For some reason, I'm not seeing Windows8 to be oriented towards business. I'm sure MS will try to force it, but I just don't see that tablet interface running on a typical workstation and certainly not a server.

    • by zrbyte (1666979)

      Agreed.
       

      mobile devices are eclipsing PCs as the center of people's computing lives

      "eclipsing"? Oh please. Quick poll: How many of you are posting your comments from a smartphone, tablet?

      • Where mobile devices like phones and tablets shine is during a commute on a train or bus. How true it is I don't know, but I heard that in Japan many people just don't have a home computer or laptop, since they spend so much time commuting. In most western countries driving is a lot more common, to and from work and home, both of which have more useful machines available.

        This is of course the weakness of mass consumer cloud adoption - if you have a machine capable of doing useful work, you already have a ma

    • There is no cloud 'hype'. Big storage folders on the net is a giant BOON. Just dont use it in stupid ways, like thinking that its a backup or private.
    • by sootman (158191)

      > What's a "cloud-based world"?

      Bespin?

  • by pegasustonans (589396) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:48PM (#40144213)

    "Cloud-based world"? Did the marketing team write that up?

    Anyway, Windows 8 will do just fine, especially because Microsoft is falling all over itself trying to be tablet-friendly and all of the other bollocks that'll generally make it a pain in the ass.

    But, as in many things related to the traditional desktop PC, the reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.

    On a related note, Windows 8 will be just as relevant to the business market as they ever were once you disable the terrible new UI, and that's all that matters anyway (whether businesses choose to skip Windows 8 in favor of waiting for the next iteration is another possibility, but unrelated to all the tablet nonsense).

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:50PM (#40144271)

      I think the business market will largely skip Windows 8 like it did Vista. It's more likely Windows 8 will be akin to a botched beta to try new features (IE: Metro) and see how the market reacts - similar to how Vista was. Then Windows 9 (like Windows 7) will take the good and strip out the bad from its predecessor and be the next Big Thing like Windows 7 was. It's not the first time MS has launched a product that will likely fail just so they can use the data to make the following product a blockbuster.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:06PM (#40144517) Homepage

        I think the business market will largely skip Windows 8 like it did Vista.

        I would tend to agree ... but not because they're "avoiding" it (though that might be the case), but because people are really still in the middle of deploying Win 7.

        Where I work, rolling out Win 7 has been in the planning stage for well over a year. We're going to start rolling it out fairly soon to users.

        Which means at an enterprise level, Vista got skipped because people were waiting for it to get sorted out. Win 7 is ramping up, but not everybody has gotten there yet. And all of the organizations who are just in the middle of putting out Win 7 will end up skipping Win 8 because Win 9 (or whatever) will be out by the time they're ready to change anyway.

        The reality is, corporate stuff happens on a *long* timeline, and it isn't something you can change direction mid-stream on.

        Though, for my own personal machine (which is also due for an upgrade), I will likely opt for Win 7 because Win 8 is a fresh steaming release which I don't trust. (Actually, I don't thin it's fully out yet anyway.)

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>Then Windows 9 (like Windows 7) will take the good and strip out the bad from its predecessor and be the next Big Thing like Windows 7 was

        So it's the Star Trek effect. Only odd-numbered ones are good: NT 3, 5 (XP), 7, and 9.

      • by devent (1627873)

        I just wonder, why isn't it the development model for Microsoft anyway? As I recall, there was always the iteration between a "beta" Windows and the "stable" Windows. Win 3.11 (stable), then Win 95 (beta), Win Mil (beta), and then Windows 2000, Windows XP (stable), then Vista (beta), then Windows 7 (stable).

        Ubuntu's model would be much better for Microsoft and the businesses that rely on Windows. Two versions of "beta" or "experimental" versions, then one LTS version. The first version is like a "vision" t

    • by Junta (36770)

      Anyway, Windows 8 will do just fine, especially because Microsoft is falling all over itself trying to be tablet-friendly and all of the other bollocks that'll generally make it a pain in the ass.

      After trying the Win8 customer preview, I think it *won't* do 'just fine', precisely because they are *trying* to be tablet-friendly with a horridly awkward UI concept for desktop. Hell, I don't see how pure touch even works particularly well with Metro.

    • Windows 8 will be just as relevant to the business market as they ever were once you disable the terrible new UI, and that's all that matters anyway (whether businesses choose to skip Windows 8 in favor of waiting for the next iteration is another possibility, but unrelated to all the tablet nonsense).

      Atleast in the consumer preview, there is no way to disable metro, there is no start menu to fallback to..

      • Windows 8 will be just as relevant to the business market as they ever were once you disable the terrible new UI, and that's all that matters anyway (whether businesses choose to skip Windows 8 in favor of waiting for the next iteration is another possibility, but unrelated to all the tablet nonsense).

        Atleast in the consumer preview, there is no way to disable metro, there is no start menu to fallback to..

        Until Microsoft gets their act together, I'd suggest this as a fix for the problem: http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/files/ [sourceforge.net]

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:51PM (#40144277)
    The problem is actually exactly the opposite of what the original poster thinks. Microsoft is making too much of a break with the past with Windows 8, being far too quick to chase trends and forgetting that real work is done on the traditional desktop and will continue to be for the forseeable future. The cloud is a fad that will flame out after the first couple of high-profile security breaches and/or data loss incidents. Tablets are great as consumption devices, but not if you're actually doing real work.
    • Likewise phones. Even what I would call the baseline in computing tasks, word processing (typing words and seeing them appear on screen) is basically impossible on a phone.

    • by Junta (36770)

      'The cloud' as MS imagines and Windows 8 facilitates is, however, MS' wet dream.... if they can win. Suddenly, not only does MS have a monopoly on your application platform, they get a monopoly on the data you manage with it. Suddenly they not only have more stuff to mine for revenue, but in addition to worrying about if you can find a calendar app in a competing OS that can manage your schedule, now your schedule itself is stuck in MS servers.

      I doubt it will flame out though. I think it should fail in m

  • Will Best Buy continue to sell Windows desktops? Yes. Will enterprise shops still buy Windows desktops and servers almost exclusively? Yes. It doesn't matter. As much as Windows ME was a disaster, it didn't affect market share. As much as Vista was a turd, it didn't affect market share.

    Even if people started replacing desktop apps with web apps, they still need an OS on their desktop/laptop.

    Furthermore, as much as I don't care for Microsoft's business tactics, and as much as I love Linux, I think Microsoft

    • by Junta (36770)

      I think Microsoft will actually GAIN market share with the new Window Server 2012

      Why? I can see it keeping some 2k8r2 shops from jumping ship because 2012 does a few things like ReFS mitigating the advantages of ZFS and (future) btrfs, but I don't see anything to induce non-Windows shops to jump aboard all of a sudden. 2k8r2 already has virtualization, so maybe 2012 gets some capability to be more competitive, but those vmware shops that are willing to jump ship have largely already done so (to KVM either in Free or RedHat backed configurations mostly). The overwhelmingly large base

  • A 'Cloud-Based' world? WTF??? The real question should be simply .. will Windows 8 succeed. I think not. It is Microsoft's latest 'Vista' disaster.

    After this fails and Microsoft can no longer give their versions names because of 'Vista', and cannot give them numbers because of Windows 8 ... Can we switch to Linux or Mac???

  • Except in this case.
    YES of course Windows 8 will succeed, just as Blurays have succeeded, despite rampant claims that discs are no longer needed. You can't just pull everything off the net, when you either have slow connections (Dialup or Economy cable) or data limits (250GB). That means you need a base OS to run the programs offline. Or for privacy.

    • Blu-ray is limping along compared to DVD adoption. Optical discs are most definitely on their way out. Very few people give a shit about 1080p perfection. They just want to watch a movie, now.
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        That's how I am..... except when it's something I love like Star Trek or Babylon 5. Then I want the HD and that's only available (for me) through Bluray.

        Of and I disagree the adoption is slow. DVD took almost ten years to outsell VHS. Bluray's only been the "official" HD standard for 3-4 years now. In ten years I'm sure it will outsell the older standard

    • by countach (534280)

      Selling a lot of copies is not enough to be considered success. Blurays are not a success even though quite a few are sold. To be a success in Microsoft's world, it has to maintain Microsoft's dominance. That's a big ask.

  • by satuon (1822492) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:03PM (#40144461)

    Microsoft's biggest challenge would be to convince people that Windows 7 is somehow not good enough anymore and they can't just use their current computer until its harddrive gives out. How many years until there's software that won't run on Windows 7? Or XP for that matter.

    • On the gaming front, XP is being phased out. I think BF3 required Vista+
      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Well that's only for DirectX. And there are hacks to get DX10/11 to run under XP.

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      ^This^ I think Microsoft is going to have an even harder time convincing corporate customers to switch to Windows 8. Most are just now rolling out Windows 7. Microsoft is not doing themselves any favors by forcing the Metro UI down the throats of PC users. I suspect this is all going to end up with Windows 8 turning into the new Windows Vista for PC users. Everyone is going to hold off until Windows 9 and hope that MS comes to their senses.
    • by nschubach (922175)

      Well, there's no DirectX 12 yet... and it will obviously use some new technology that Windows 7 could never handle.

    • probably when IE 11 won't run on windows 7....

  • When enough people get tired of their "Cloud" documents being inaccessible because Internet connection has problems/dies/they can't link to the wireless?

    The people will be revolting.

    • by iceaxe (18903)

      The people will be revolting.

      People have always been revolting.

      Oh, were you meaning that as a verb?

  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:07PM (#40144527)
    Because that's what this whole cloud nonsense really means - going back to the hierarchy and control from which personal computing freed us.

    Every time a game or program requires remote authentication, the reviews are scathing; yet somehow there is still a push to a paradigm of remote *everything*. This is completely inconsistent with the observed preferences of knowledgeable users. Of course, business management loves the idea - they see the control of centralization without even needing an in-house IT department. For anybody else, it means giving up the rights to your own computer.
  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:07PM (#40144531)

    It does things the desktop apps didn't do before or didn't do very well. There are a lot of things desktop apps do a lot better then the cloud.

    Neither one has to displace the other. It's like music and movies. You don't really consume one to the exclusion of the other. Ideally the cloud and desktop apps should learn to get along because in that way they can both play to the other's strengths and cover the other's weaknesses.

    • by BeerCat (685972)

      Neither one has to displace the other. It's like music and movies. You don't really consume one to the exclusion of the other.

      I watch movies and listen to music. I don't "consume" them.

      The only time music would be "consumed" is if you adopt Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" metaphor as literal - "If music be the food of love, play on"

  • Any cloud app requires a round-trip to the server and back in order to do anything which requires saving what you have right now as an intereim step. Usually that's something like 200ms, which any gamer will tell you is extremely perceptible.

    On the flip side, any desktop app with more than about 200ms lag between clicking a button and obviously doing something is frustrating and ought to be supplanted by THE CLOUD.

    • by Fwipp (1473271)

      Cloud-based apps doesn't mean they have to do the equivalent of X-forwarding. In most cases, you can do the majority of the manipulation on the device itself, and only go out to the 'cloud' for opening files, saving them, and checking for updates (or downloading the app each time you run it, as is often the case with javascript apps).

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Not necessarily true. I heard that Facebook (or someone else, I can't recall) basically just assumes the request goes through without and error and the UI acts accordingly. In the exceptionally odd case that an error is returned, it can still be displayed after the fact, but what you get is a UI that looks like it is responding instantly, even though the saving hasn't actually happened. With some UI tricks and a bit of work you can have a very responsive UI on a web app.
      • A fine approach if its a picture of your dog farting, but I would not want to go that way for mission critical business documents!
    • by countach (534280)

      The trend is towards invisible background saving rather than pressing some menu item to save. Apple's iWork apps on ipad you never explicitly save, and you are never aware of when it is going to the cloud.

  • Wrong questions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by werewolf1031 (869837) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @01:32PM (#40144907)

    As a decades-long desktop- (and now laptop- and tablet-) user, I do not want "cloud based solutions". If the cloud-based bullshit goes down, or if the power goes out locally, or my ISP decides to take a crap, my shit better still be there... or rather, HERE. Locally. On a disk. It can be one of my hard drives, or my USB SSD drive, or my LAN-accessible network drive, whatever, but if I don't have direct access and control of my shit, then something is WRONG, and all the "cloud" solutions in the world won't help me at that point.

    My second Android tablet, an Asus Transformer, came with some kind of cloud storage service. I've never touched it; never felt the need to. I'm not paying someone else to store my own stuff, especially when most of it won't even run on ARM devices anyway.

    Yeah, I use Dropbox to keep files synchronized across devices. The difference? I still have access to my shit when I can't access the "cloud" for any reason.

    Honestly, this "cloud" nonsense has to stop. The marketing bullshit has to stop. Just call it what it is: Internet-based storage. Which means, if you can't access the Internet, you can't access Your Stuff. It's off-limits to you. WTF is the point? As a remote backup? Ok, I can see that. But as real-time storage that you can't control? Screw that.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      quick summary of post:

      I hate the cloud and everything it stands for.
      I use the cloud in the way it's suppose to be used.
      The cloud has to stop.

  • by Alex Belits (437) *

    Of course, it can! If it doesn't matter what is on the client, it can just as well be the worst OS in the history of makind!

  • Yes, they have nearly 100% OEM lock in. Provide a fact-based reasoning for how this could change anytime soon and I might change my mind. The cloud has nothing to do with this. Win8 will be compatible with the cloud, just like all of its competitors (the entire point of the cloud). Is this supposed to suggest that mobile devices are going to replace the desktop/laptop? I will believe that when I see a youngster (the ones who are the most mobile) writing a term paper on a mobile device and not getting an F.
  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @02:38PM (#40146011)

    It is really sad we have all this technology only to see it wasted on nonsensical bullshit designed to extract every penny from every imaginable sale channel rather than provide value to the paying customer.

    The EE guys are taking names and kicking ass while software finds new ways to waste every new transistor and radio tower thay are given.

    I am ashamed of myself and my industry.

  • by mcavic (2007672)
    This is not a cloud-based world. It's a device-based world, with the cloud as a big component. So yes, Windows 8 will do fine as long as Microsoft doesn't screw it up too much. Even better if it does well on both a PC and a mobile device.
  • Fuck the cloud.
    You can pry my native installations and data I actually own from my cold, dead boxen.

  • and going full cloud aka on-live is a BIG data HOG and it add's a lot of control lag as well.

  • The cloud isnt going to replace desktop applications. Holy fuck you idiots, stop spreading this horseshit.

  • Despite what the mobile world thinks the desktop system will probably never go away. Any real content creation need to be done on a desktop system. And the demands of Localized Storage, Fast Speed, Security, and Offline Connectivity and others will likely make cloud/browser based solutions an inferior choice for years to come. Who's going to want to sit down to a smart phone at their office?

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