A Look at Cloud Computing
Modern computing has taken huge steps into technology that can take the mechanics of it beyond the understanding of many a computer user’s ordinary conception.
Cloud computing can be described in simplistic ways, but the reality is pretty awesome. The computer that is in front of you is actually “doing” less than it seems, in fact it has become more of a portal to areas of the internet known as “the cloud”.
If you were to put an enquiry or request into a search engine such as Google, that transmits to one of thousands of cluster PC’s which will sieve out the answers and return them to your PC. Where was the computer with the answer? It could have been in Silicon Valley, or Hong Kong, or anywhere in the world, it doesn’t make much difference to your PC, you have the information you requested.
Cloud computing is using the services of another company over the internet in a seamless fashion that appears for all the world to occurring within the realms of your own PC.
This is a form of outsourcing, or bought in computer services from remote data centres. These centres are IT infrastructures with excess capacity which is “rented out” to other users.
This can mean that standard “office” type applications such as spreadsheets, word processing, can be accessible as a cloud service and instead of loading onto an adjacent computer, the user is connected to a cloud version.
Email is another example of something that had to be sent and received through a program running on the PC, which now, internet services carry emails into the cloud and can store them in servers anywhere in the world, accessible at anytime and anywhere through a Web browser.
For company use, the cloud can have several advantages, not least, the freedom from having to invest in IT hardware or specialist employees.
Company data that may be vital is safely stored in dedicated data centres with multiple world-wide back-ups.
The amount of power or storage required can be reduced or increased as business needs fluctuate, thus containing costs by only paying for what you are using.
Cloud computing allows you to buy in just the services you want when you want them, reducing the initial capital expense of computers and peripherals.
It allows you to avoid updating hardware and software yourself, and takes reliability and security problems away, and as business fluctuates, services can simply be added, adapted or dropped at a moment’s notice.
The cloud also can produce a “virtual” computer. A standard computer is limited by the operating system and software installations. In a “virtual” computer, the whole of the software set-up is stored as an image, a binary file that is an image of the “real” computer which when loaded onto hardware in the cloud, behaves as a normal machine.