Saturday, 8 October 2011

Clouds gathering over the horizon, part V

Will spectacular outages of AWS and now BT cloud services casts a pall over the excitement that has reached even politicians? And now comes this geopolitical issue only hinted at by MSFT's tribulations in Europe over Internet Explorer. This posted in Germany (Google Chrome will translate this page for you) by Ruth Lang - 'SVG queen' to Dino Ravnic 'web vector king'.

Not to be put off by any of this, 1Spatial just launched Socium to provide a web service (a) to help you clean up your data online, and (b) to interact with their 'soon to be your' community of users, where you can propose further tools and formats - that would be the 'jack' in that metaphoric court above - and a freemium pricing model (pay as you use) in the current economic climate will be welcome news for most...

The question I put to them however is the same one I asked, and the same ESRI's private cloud will try to address: what is the best strategy to host, process and keep data on the web, rather than waste bandwidth uploading and downloading data? Outages affect data transactions, not data storage after all! Two contrasting strategies are presented here, and I only use examples I'm familiar with, this isn't exhaustive... and gigaom's Alex Stalker certainly give more perspective!

New kid on the block has a freemium business model, and technically offer to store files for easier storage, or load them in postGIS for actual geo-processing. They completely insulate the user from storage issues, indeed they offer to do away with performance issues by posting vectors online. Being also new they have the least amount of geo-processing tools and least capability to link to other data sources.

Granddad Esri has been pursuing web strategies for a while now, be it through its geoportal do tackle metadata and storage, to its current Explorer rendition of to build geo-communities. In addition to keeping everything online, it offers Portal for ArcGIS to move everything behind a corporate firewall, not unlike Google and Microsoft (and others in the news lately outside 'geo' space).

As mentioned earlier this is key for resources companies and government agencies who both share and protect their data, and where security and access are not insignificant challenges. I can imagine not a few harried web IT managers thinking like so...