Cloud Computing: What’s In It For Me?

Cloud Computing: What’s In It For Me?

cloud_computingThere are more than 1.5 Billion people connected to the Internet today. That’s one quarter of the world’s population. And over the next 5 years it’s estimated that another 1 Billion people will be connected.

All this could easily choke traditional infrastructures. That’s why cloud computing is the technology poised to take the lead with a simpler, more secure and efficient way of doing things.

The Cloud is actually a metaphor to describe the Internet. It means using the Internet for your computing needs. For instance, Google Docs is a cloud computing application, as is SalesForce and AWS (Amazon Web Services.)

Wikipedia describes it like this: 

Cloud computing refers to the provision of computational resources on demand via a computer network, such as applications, databases, file services, email, etc. In the traditional model of computing, both data and software are fully contained on the user’s computer; in cloud computing, the user’s computer may contain almost no software or data (perhaps a minimal operating system and web browser only), serving as little more than a display terminal for processes occurring on a network of computers far away.

To make it even easier to understand; think utilities. It’s similar to the power company that supplies electricity to your home and office. Flip on a switch to turn on a lamp, there’s power. You pay for that power while you use it. The service is scalable. The same holds true with cloud computing.

For a more applicable perspective, let’s look at the different types of website hosting services.

  • Shared hosting provides low cost entry but resources are shared with other users. It’s not scalable.
  • VPS (Virtual Private Server) is more secure and flexible but growth can be restricted because resources are limited.
  • Dedicated Servers provide dedicated resources but entry costs are high.
  • Cloud offers the entry cost of shared hosting, the flexibility of VPS and resource guarantee of the dedicated server. It’s a network of connected servers that offers scalability and optimized performance.

With Cloud computing you only pay for what you use, like the power company. You’re not limited to a particular server’s RAM, processing power, storage or bandwidth for your website or apps. In fact, you don’t even need to think about any of that!

Cloud computing lets you use as much or as little computing power as you need. That means no limits on the growth of your site. If your site is currently on shared hosting and you need to upgrade to a dedicated server, you will need to move your site, even if it’s within the same hosting company. If your site is in the cloud, no move is necessary. It will automatically grow with you.

With Cloud Computing, you benefit from cost savings, better security, optimal performance and flexibility.

  • Andrew J. Gay
    Posted at 15:59h, 24 May Reply

    Good info Deb, I don’ think most people actually know what the difference is, or how “being in the cloud” will benefit them. Before long everything will be in the cloud anyways, just like VOIP phones that have pretty much replaced traditional land lines.

  • Rick Cooper
    Posted at 16:32h, 24 May Reply

    I use many Cloud Computing applications and yet it’s hard to feel like your data is entirely secure, protected and available at all times. Sometimes I’ll save a file on GoogleDocs and it does not appear for a few minutes. Where did it go? It eventually shows up.

    I like the comfort of being able to search and locate files on my computer hard drive. And yet, as Andrew says, everything is going to the Cloud. Sometimes we need to have a little trust and faith (as well as a backup plan.)

    • samuel
      Posted at 02:42h, 20 June Reply

      Rick you are right, sometimes we need to have faith. Like in everything else as more and more users move to the cloud, innovative ideas will take over and make cloud secure. Two issues are important concerns according to researchers such as IDC. Security and Continuity of operations should the host fail for some reason. Companies like icube office, solely dedicated to providing cloud services without advertisements etc., have addressed such issues and have given customer managed encryption tools, data management tools for security and continuity of operations.

  • Wendell Willat
    Posted at 16:40h, 24 May Reply

    Great article – easy to understand on a complex subject. Not sure if everything will be in the cloud – e.g. Apple native apps. But the ability to stream live and update/scale in real time is pretty awesome.

  • Sandra McFadin
    Posted at 16:53h, 24 May Reply

    Thank goodness someone explained this! Thank you!

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