Today in Cloud

Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson blogged yesterday, suggesting that “there will be no files in the cloud.” The basic unit of desktop computing has been the file for a very long time. We have become used to sorting files and searching for files, and constructing convoluted folder structures to give our files homes. In the cloud, Wilson argues, this model begins to break down. “And what people will want is a service that doesn’t have files as the atomic unit,” Wilson writes. Instead, the focus shifts to the data, the resources, that we actually want… rather than the file they happen to have been created in. Bob Warfield was amongst those to respond, suggesting that Wilson’s exuberance marked him out as the early adopter he clearly is. “Files, PC’s, and Money,” Warfield writes, “are in no danger of disappearing any time soon nor is Oracle, MySQL or SQL Server.  As good as the alternatives may seem, they don’t solve all the problems well enough to truly eradicate their older competitors.” And, as usual, they’re both sort of right. The cloud, tablets, smartphones and the rest are clearly blurring the previously rigid hierarchies and structures that governed our filing of data on computers; and that’s a good thing. But behind the scenes, software and operating systems are still working with files, and there are plenty of situations in which the user will want or need some of that underlying structure to be made visible to them. The cloud hasn’t killed the file yet.

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Paul Miller

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