Brian Madden has started a thread about one of the areas that I see as being absolutely critical to the delivery of client computing from the cloud:
As I see it, in all of the discussion about cloud computing there is one aspect of cloud delivered client computing that has got little public attention so far and that is the subject of integration between Internet or cloud delivered applications. To illustrate what I mean; imagine a user who has finished editing an image and wants to send it to colleagues. In a traditional desktop the image editing program knows where to look to find an email program that works on behalf of the user. If the applications are now provided by different suppliers then there is currently no way for one application to signal that it wants the help of another.
Being able to do this is taken for granted on traditional desktops because everything runs in one place and a mixture of the registry, inter process communication and configuration files take care of communications. In moving to the cloud one of the great benefits we get is the ability to buy services from different suppliers and to move freely between suppliers. However, this breaks the integration model. You could say that these applications would have to be provided by a single supplier, but that argument quickly leads to all applications being supplied by a single service provider. This is not cloud computing it is outsourcing, a valid model but not the same as cloud computing.
What is needed is needed is a mechanism that allows unified policy and personalization to be delivered between multiple cloud providers. Sounds a lot like User Environment Management, doesn’t it? One of my goals is to establish such a mechanism so that customers have a single place to control all of the interactions between their cloud delivered services. This is the only way organizations will have an efficient way to add additional services and the freedom to move between providers.