There is so much talk nowadays about Cloud computing I thought it might be helpful to discuss the topic in a way that I think everyone can understand. So here is a three-part article on Cloud computing broken up in three topics: (1) What is Cloud computing, (2) What are the benefits of Cloud computing and (3) What is the future of Cloud computing?
According to Wikipedia, cloud computing is internet computing whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand similar to an electricity grid.
Cloud computing is a paradigm shift following the shift from mainframe to client-server in the early 1980s. Details are abstracted from the users, who no longer have need for expertise in, or control over, the technology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them. Cloud computing describes a new supplement, consumption, and delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it typically involves over-the-Internet-provision of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources. It is a byproduct and consequence of the ease-of-access to remote computing sites provided by the Internet.
The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for the internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to represent the telephone network, and later to depict the Internet in computer network diagram as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represents. Typical cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online that are accessed from another Web service or software such as a Web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers.
Most cloud computing infrastructure consists of services delivered through common centers and built on servers. Clouds often appear as single points of access for all consumers’ computing needs. Commercial offerings are generally expected to meet quality of service (QoS) requirements of customers and typically include SLAs. The major cloud-only service providers include Salesforce.com, Amazon and Google.
According to wikiinvest.com, a simple example of cloud computing is Yahoo email or Gmail. You don’t need software or a server to use them. All a consumer needs is an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and email management software is all on the cloud (internet) and is totally managed by the cloud service provider Yahoo, Google, etc. The consumer uses the software alone and enjoys the benefits.