Storage-free Zone

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To me, the storage and backup problem is the weakest link in Office 2.0. Even entry-level Dell laptops come standard with 40GB of storage. And high-end consumer-oriented iMacs come packed with a quarter of a terabyte. Despite those capacities, people continue to buy external hard drives to handle the spillover from their systems' main drives.

Even if reliable data-storage services with decent capacities at reasonable cost emerge, they'll need to be tied to the services where you're creating your data. Manually moving files from one service to another, like Ghalimi does between Gmail and Yahoo, isn't an elegant solution.

Inevitable Shift

Ghalimi doesn't expect a stampede of fellow travelers racing to join the Office 2.0 phenomenon. "It will start slowly," he acknowledges. "There will be resistance because habits are hard to change."

By 2010, he does expect to see a significant shift away from PCs loaded with apps and data.

I agree. It will start to happen in significant numbers in business. IT will discover that with tools like AJAX, it can offer full-fledged Web-based applications to far-flung users with greater security and with all the features people need to get their jobs done.

What's more, as Ghalimi points out, these new applications will have built-in collaboration capabilities, ideal for business. Finally, IT can provide and manage the endless amounts of storage that end users seem to demand. No external service will be necessary.

Certainly, there will always be applications that require local storage on PCs and individuals who need it. But in the coming years, you may have to convince your CIO that you're not crazy when you ask for it.

Mark Hall is a Computerworld editor and large. Contact him at mark_hall@computerworld.com.

Special Report

Storage: New Wrinkles 2006

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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