As a technology enthusiast, I often find myself pondering about the major trends in IT – those which will influence (or are influencing) the core of our lives. I have seen many spectacular articles on cloud computing and they eventually drove me to write this up. The cloud is a warmly welcomed trend of the decade, which can be described as “living on the Internet”. It’s because of cloud computing that we can perform all the tasks of a typical computer system online – like word-processing, programming, drawing and even gaming. You are probably already hovering with the cloud if you are reading this, whether you know it or not. So, I thought to give a brief introduction to cloud computing on my blog.
Wikipedia describes cloud computing as:
“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources.”
If you want Google to define the cloud, it says:
“[Cloud is] the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.”
Now for those who didn’t quite understand the above written technobabble, it means that now you need not perform tasks or save files on your own computer, but use another system (which might be placed several hundred kilometers from you) connected to the Internet and willing to provide you these services! Major corporations including Amazon, Google, IBM, Sun, Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel and Oracle have invested in cloud computing and are offering individuals and businesses a range of cloud-based solutions.
If you have ever used e-mail, you have already experienced the cloud! In fact, online services like e-mail, social networking and blogging are prominent examples of cloud computing. Want to have a deeper look into how the cloud is influencing you? Let’s learn about cloud computing under the following headings:
- The fence between online and offline is now fading away.
- Why is the crowd moving to the cloud?
- Software as a Service (SaaS).
The fence between online and offline is now fading away. With all those rich internet applications and ever-ready unlimited internet connections, we don’t even notice how we are riding on the cloud, how much we use the Internet for the functions we once performed offline. Admit it, it is hard to search the drives for a file and easy to download it again using Google!
Why is the crowd moving to the cloud? Well, for many thoughtful reasons…
Firstly, cloud frees you from mugging up the memory of your computer for storing data. You just need a good browser and the rest will be done on the internet.
Secondly, the apps and information on the internet can be accessed from anywhere. Now you don’t need your particular computer system to get to your data. Just login to your Google Drive or Dropbox account and there you are.
Thirdly, the basic plans of many cloud services are free of cost. And free things are always a delight, aren’t they?
Fourthly, reputed cloud service providers promise safety of your data and also make regular backups so that you don’t have to spend sleepless nights worrying about sensitive data going into wrong hands or getting corrupt.
Software as a Service (SaaS) – ever heard of this term buzzing around? This is one of the service models of the cloud. Actually, cloud solution providers offer their services according to several fundamental models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). I am discussing Software as a Service (SaaS) here. It is a software licensing and delivery model through which you can use applications on the internet without necessarily installing them on your computer. It can be referred to as “on-demand software”. Many popular software corporations have come up with cloud-based versions of their software and many companies have gained fame just because of the remarkable SaaS they offer – Dropbox for instance. Log into your account from any device and experience the software even without installing anything on your system – sounds pretty cool, eh? One drawback of SaaS is that the users’ data are stored on the cloud provider’s server, so there could be unauthorized access to it. For this reason, users are increasingly adopting intelligent third-party key management systems to help secure their data.
To welcome the cloud or not in your life is up to you. I would say that cloud has already penetrated it. By paying a little attention to cloud, you can escape from buying so much software. Moreover, you can now avoid using pirated software and worrying about computer-crash or viruses. I think it’s worth it!
[Credit for inspiration → Digit (Magazine) and various others.]