Two brand name IT vendors have launched cloud computing services in the last few days, in what may an indication that the long predicted shift of IT provisioning to an on-demand, hosted model – which despite the success of a few pioneers has yet to hit the mainstream – is finally approaching critical mass.
On Friday, IBM announced the availability of an online version of its Lotus Notes desktop collaboration suite, called LotusLive iNotes. The offering, essentially and online email server, is a clear competitive volley against Google’s Apps suite and Microsoft’s forthcoming Office Web Apps, due next year.
But while LotusLive iNotes undercuts Google’s pricing – a year’s license costs $36 per user compared to $50 for Google Apps Premier Edition – it allocates just 1GB of storage space to each user compared to Google’s 2.5GB. Microsoft has yet to reveal how its Office Web Apps will be priced for businesses.
Also, LotusLive iNotes does not include a word processor or spreadsheet application. That said, anecdotal reports from Information Age readers suggest that Google Apps customers often leave those components unused, as the benefits of online collaboration may not be enough to persuade users to migrate from Microsoft Word and Excel.
Meanwhile, security software vendor McAfee has announced the availability of a cloud-based storage service for consumers. The company claims that the service offers unlimited storage space for just $5 a month.
The service is based on platform of cloud storage vendor Mozy, which in turn is operated by Decho, a subsidiary of storage giant EMC. In fact it is not entirely clear what McAfee adds to the service – Mozy already encrypts the stored data, so there is little need for extra security. However, McAfee’s established brand may lead to broader adoption.
The service is available now in the US, and will be launched in the UK before the end of the year.