Gladinet Cloud Desktop, a Real Cloud Product

Gibbs looks at the latest version of Gladinet Cloud Desktop and likes what he sees.

By Mark Gibbs
Fri, March 18, 2011

Network World — I wonder how long the rampant marketing hype over cloud-related stuff will last? Now, let's be clear, that's not to say I don't think there's validity in the concept of cloud services; not at all ... it's just that many vendors choose to conflate whatever they're selling with the word "cloud" just because it's the "meme du jour," which does nothing but make the term "cloud" less useful.

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A good example of this wanton adoption of "cloudiness" is in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market. The history of the term "software as a service" goes back to a 2001 article titled "Strategic Backgrounder: Software as a Service" by the Software & Information Industry's (SIIA) eBusiness Division. The phrase was used to describe hosted application services and, unfortunately, it and its ugly acronym were swiftly adopted and become part of IT "industry speak."

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But as usual in the IT industry, the dark forces of marketing intervened and over the last few months many SaaS vendors now proclaim themselves to be "cloudy" despite the fact that their products and services are still essentially the same as they were before "cloudiness" got everyone excited.

Now it's true that some SaaS vendors have moved elements of their infrastructure over to be driven on the back end by true cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, but I'm not convinced that just because a vendor uses a cloud service as part of their offering they too become a cloud service (i.e. cloudiness is not a transitive property).

But some vendors do deliver on their cloud promise. For example, I just got my hands on Gladinet Cloud Desktop 3, a product I wrote about just under a year ago and I'm really impressed with what the company has achieved with this release.

To save you the trouble of reading my previous review, GCD is a Windows utility that maps a drive to a virtual subdirectory under which various cloud services can be configured to appear as subdirectories. Those cloud services include Amazon S3, Synaptic Storage as a Service, EMC (EMC) Atmos Online, any FTP server, CIFS shares, Google (GOOG) Docs, Mezeo, Rackspace CloudFiles, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Azure and WebDav. These cloud services can all be treated like any other Windows accessible storage subsystem, making it very simple to update remote storage resources.

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