Chicken & Egg: Netbooks and Cloud Computing

In his blog, Stop Buying Servers, David Schrag agrees with TechRepublic’s Jason Hiner’s view that NetBooks are driving users to cloud computing.

I have a slightly different take

Netbooks are not driving users to Cloud Computing. Rather, the growth in Cloud Computing options makes netbooks more feasible.

Low and mid-range netbooks, those under the $600, are not for the power users. Screens and keyboards are too small and the processors lack “umph”. They do, however, meet the needs of many users, and not just road warriors. High-end netbooks, with larger (up to 15″) screen sizes and more local storage, overcome some of these limitations and still provide savings of 30% to 60% over traditional notebooks.

Netbooks would fail in the market unless users can lighten their application load. Cloud Computing, and the growth of Software-as-a-Services solutions, lets users move some of the heavy processing and storage load off the local system.

The range of applications and services available in the cloud gives users access to capabilities without the hundreds or even tens of gigabytes often used by locally installed applications. Similarly, cloud computing puts the processing burden on the service, leveraging local resources for the user interface and communications.

Yes, cost is a factor. We see the true driver towards netbooks being their ability to let organizations match the true needs of the users to the most cost-effective solution.