Being in the Cloud.. You can take it with you!
This post is really musings... ramblings... please bear with me on this, it might make sense in the end. Just the other day I had a wonderful conversation with a new client who left the workforce after her kids were born, just during the cusp of mainframe transitioning to the client server model (she's a fellow techie. YAHOO, another female techie!!). Now, her kids have grown up (the youngest heading to college) and she looks across the IT vast land and sees something very similar to what she left.
The reality is, the cloud technology embraces both the mainframe model (centralization) and the client server model (de-centralization). It reminds me of the harmony between the muscular energy and organic energy in yoga. The balance between them makes a pose feel wonderful! Just like I've fallen in love with yoga, I'm falling back in love with technology. In particular, databases. So much more than Access or FileMaker Pro. It's just wonderful!
So, as she and I were discussing the topic, an analogy came to me as we discussed the multi-tenant model of Salesforce.com (she was quite concerned about her data being mixed up with others AND security, remember, she comes from a very centralized place) So, I had her visualize an empty condo. The rooms are all laid out: outlets, cable hook up, washer and dryer hook ups, water, etc. The layout is all there for you. Now, all you need to do is add your furniture (data) and maybe a little design (paint on the walls, rearrange things slightly), but the basic floor plans remains. The condo association maintains the building, all you do is live in your space and call when there are problems (help desk or forums). You have your own secure space with a key and lock (password and encryption). You're able to rearrange as you want and you can even change some fundamentals if you get condo association approval (adding your own code to customize and build out Salesforce). Then, when you want to move, you pack up your furniture (keep in mind, the paint stays on the wall, it's temporary anyway, as does any build out) and you find a new condo (like moving from Salesforce.com to another cloud based or maybe internal database). It's like that with Salesforce.com. Yes, you can take your data with you! You're not stuck with them forever. Can you imagine? Changing software systems that simply? Yes, it takes time to get things in order, but hey, you are not beholden to any one company! What a wonderful and freeing feeling.
So, what we have now, is the ability to do our work using the best of all worlds. The client server model (yes, I can download my data, work off my servers at the office, etc) AND the mainframe model (having access to super fast machines, centralizing the hardware maintenance for the heavy lifting, etc). And, the cherry on top is that we can MOVE SYSTEMS. I can take my data anywhere I want. This is just wonderful and feeds my yogic mentality.
NOTE: I have another post coming about moving from Google Apps to another Google Apps (different domain name) and the process that took. It was not easy, but it was do-able.