What is cloud computing?

Walk in the Cloud

One more term harvested by computer semantics … We were cool with the Mouse, we accepted the Web, we nurtured words like client / server, master / slave, desktop, and folder. Now it is the Cloud ..

All in the Cloud .. Up to the Cloud …

For those of us tech. people the entire concept of cloud computing is not new. Any one who had a website hosted on some remote server is already up close and personal with the use of remote online systems to save and store data. It is always when something is commercialized and packaged for casual end-users when it gets all the attention and companies start re-branding their systems to appeal more to the new, and generally novice, target audience.

What is Cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the next generation of networking model that makes use of computers across the Internet to store data. The model is made possible through enterprise level applications (software) that allows users to use data on remote servers similar to the way they use it on their local systems.The main highlights of this model are:

  • Scalability – in a sense that users can expand their usage of data storage based on their needs
  • Cost effective – a lot of cost involved with buying large drives and larger servers for companies is cut down with the use of rented or pay as you go acquired servers
  • Increased efficiency -through the use of multiple servers processing data at the same time resulting in an increase of the MIPS (million instructions per second) which is the main measurement of computer processing speed

Probably by now you might still be asking , so What is Cloud Computing ? well, you are not the only one. I for once was puzzled at first when a friend of mine who had little to do with computers in general started telling me about how he is utilizing cloud computing to run his new online business. Listening to how the process worked from registering a domain through a domain registers like Godaddy or any local one for less than $10 a year, to setting up a website through Google apps for businesses that allows you to use your own domain and Google servers to host your site, save data, and edit the site using Google Docs to receiving emails from the site through your free gmail account. In addition, you could setup Skype with a minimal monthly payment (less than $10) to get calls  to your virtual office right to your mobile phone through skype while people think they are dialling to an actual office. To top it up, if your site sells goods, Google offers you the Google checkout component which needs only a valid credit card to setup and Google takes a percentage of every sale you make ( before you say anything, this money that you didn’t have so, for someone to take a percentage you should just say thank you… it is next to free…..)

Cloud, The big Picture …

This might seem way off the topic and maybe a promotion to Google… they don’t need me to promote them… but this is cloud computing. The idea of integrating services and servers to setup an application or software and using remote systems to host data and utilizing a single interface (Google accounts) in this case to manage all aspects of the business. So you are doing everything online, you need not have machines running 24/7 , or large mainframes with high-end processing powers and large hard drives to store massive amounts of data is at the core of the Cloud Computing model.  So if you think this is not new, and you know for a fact that a lot of people and companies  are already doing this for more than 10 years you understand why I was puzzled by the concept. It was perceived back in the 60’s and was synonymous to how the Internet was foreseen.

However, looking at the details of this product, if I can use the term, or better yet the service, it was just not commercial material back then.. and the idea seemed more technical to appeal to the casual business man who simply thought about computers and the Internet as a way to entertain the kids and maybe save some photos and do some office work.

Cloud computing is just one of those idea’s that builds up from the media and grows as more people buy into it. Don’t get me wrong, it is great that we are opening services to users and building a network that is seamless and connects all aspects of our daily living, It is just how people are driven into things rather than making choices through analysis of their needs and requirements vs what is currently available……

so,

Are you on the Cloud ? what are you waiting for ??

Image courtesy of Business2Community.com

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