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Local Resiliency

The launch of Office 365 and its reliance on local applications got me thinking again about the general concept of local applications and local storage.

From a Google perspective, Chrome OS seems to suggest local applications and local storage is a bad thing. And certainly Microsoft gets battered for requiring local applications (e.g. Lync, Office) to perform certain functions.

But why is this?

Even though I operate in a highly connected world, I still do not always have connectivity to the Internet be it via wired, WIFI or 3G cellular service.

In the voice engineering world, even with a highly centralized voice infrastructure, it is a best practice to provide local voice resiliency in the event of a network failure. We do this by deploying survivable voice gateways at remote locations and connect these remote gateways to the PSTN to provide backup connections for critical services such as 911.

Why then is having local applications that work in concert with hosted applications frowned upon?

Yes, centralized applications, whether they are mainframe-based or web-based, provide easier management and upgrade facilities. And yes, a cloud-based centralized storage facility means my documents don’t get "stranded" on a forgotten, lost, stolen or damaged device.

But, like in the voice world with local voice resiliency, why can’t I have local application resiliency and local (synchronized) storage resiliency?

Perhaps the plethora of interconnected, interoperable applications installed on my laptop have become difficult to manage and sometimes even "fragile" to operate; however, I think it is simplicity that we should be seeking; not simply bundling up the current mess and throwing it into a "black box" called the cloud. (I suspect this might create a black cloud; i.e. a thunder cloud.)

On my smartphone, my laptop or my tablet, I still expect to be able to compose and edit documents, play games, view video, and generally be productive or entertained whether I am connected to the cloud or not.

How about you? Are you ready to operate only where you are connected?