The concept of cloud computing is interesting and actually quite old. It lacked major backing till Google came along and is now increasingly seen as the alternative to PC (given that other alternatives like Tablet PC came and went).
This diagram and definition is from Wikipedia of course ”
Cloud computing refers to computing resources being accessed which are typically owned and operated by a third-party provider on a consolidated basis in Data Center locations. Consumers of cloud computing services purchase computing capacity on-demand and are not generally concerned with the underlying technologies used to achieve the increase in server capability. There are however increasing options for developers that allow for platform services in the cloud where developers do care about the underlying technology.”
What prevents local area networks from enforcing clouds beats me. Put all the apps and ALL the storage on the server.Since most PC OEMS insist on their standard 80 gb hard disk configuration, the IT team of a company has to work harder to enforce it, but once done – They have lower tickets to attend to. Just put thin shell ubuntu PC’s with open office on each local machine. This also makes compliance and productivity tracking much easier to do- just check the server logs. Bottlenecks of course remain that IT Compliance in companies rarely seeks to maximize business value, thus ensuring they are the first to be transferred to other teams or downsized in downturns as a cost unit not as a core unit.
You can also try Google Apps for enterprise for such initiatives. The software is now ready which wasnt the case a few years back.