The commoditization of technology is what will drive the move to the cloud.
As a geek/techie/etc., I love the control of having my own systems, but the truth of the matter is, we Geeks are a minority and we are losing the war. The truth is, technology is becoming commoditized. This is a good thing, but it means changes.
First, we will see people start to expect technology to become like we have appliances. We already are starting to see this. We want to have connectivity. We want to have sharing. We expect it all to simply work. We want to have others make this occur. We want an internet of toaster like simplicity and reliability and we are close to being there.
The NAS of the future will be an online store (as in storage system). People do not care about the tech, they want to have the functionality. What is behind it maters little. The thing here is, Net-gen cares even less than my generation of techies did. They may have the skills to use it, but the skills to control it are actually diminishing (think Assembly coding if you doubt this). Net-gen knows how to mash up an app but fails to know what the base protocol really is in most cases.
Right now, we have slow (but increasingly fast) connections to the net and we are moving more and more to mobile and wireless. Soon, wireless will be anywhere and at 30 frames per second many times over for HD. This means remote desktops will work faster than we are used to local ones on our PCs.
When all is available, backed up and secured, who will want or care for a USB device?
In a few years, 100Mb/sec or even Gb/s wireless will be a utility function. At these speeds and when we no longer worry about having the endless drops and black-spots, the net will be something like the electricity grid, we will expect it always to be there (and lament it dropping with a gusto).
This is something in the next 5 – 10 years (some locations are nearly there).
We are already moving this way. We are already close. As the base infrastructure manages to surpass the level of allowing this (and also adds a layer of redundancy to those connections) we will see the cloud become the everyday.
Soon, there will be little more than a nebulous net we are all connected into.
Prepare for change as it is the only constant.