What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the latest development in information technology that allows a group of remote servers to share and gain online access to computer services, data processing, and data storage. The concept of cloud had been around for years. In fact, it was recorded to have started around the 1950’s. Back then, large-scale mainframe computers can be accessed using terminal computers. This was referred to as “static terminals”. During that time they were only used for communication purposes only as these mainframes does not have the capability to perform internal processing services, as compared today.
What exactly does cloud computing do?
The innovation of cloud computing had made it easier for each individual to gain access to information or documents without having to go directly to the source and ask for the data needed; literally speaking. Before, a single document needs to be given to each individual for reviews, edit, and the likes. Once a correction has been made, the individual has to collect each document and create one document summarizing all the information gathered. It is time-consuming and frustrating.
With cloud computing, sharing of documents had been made possible without having to go through all these troubles. A perfect example of this is the use of Google Docs. If you send a number of people the same document through Google Docs, everyone can view, edit or comment that document at the same time. Provided that you were given access. Any changes made are automatically saved.
Encountering Cloud Computing
Do you have an email address? Do you have a Facebook or Twitter account? If your answers to the above questions are yes, then you have encountered cloud computing already.
Email accounts are hosted by web-based services like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail. To gain access to your email account, it is not necessary that you have to do it on your personal computer. In fact, you can still log in to your account by using another computer. This is because all the login details for your email account are not stored in your personal computer. It is stored in the server’s computer cloud.
It is the same with Facebook and Twitter. All the documents, pictures, and the like shared on these social networking sites are not stored in your personal computer. You can gain access to them once you log in to your account.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CLOUD COMPUTING
- Maintenance is not as expensive and is much easier. It is due to the fact that information or data that are stored can be accessed from another place. Hence, it is not necessary that such information has to be installed on your personal computer or the user’s computer.
- Network access has never been made easier and broader. Whatever data or information you need, they can be accessed using your smartphones, laptop, tablets or personal computer regardless of their location.
- Productivity has increased as multiple users can work together on a specific document. The era wherein you have to save, email and wait for a particular document to arrive is already out of the picture.
- Measured service allows the consumer to pay for the resources they have only used.
The different models of cloud computing
So far, cloud computing has four known models that are being defined.
- Infrastructure as a service (IAAS): – Offers resources such as disk image library, firewalls, IP addresses, file storage and virtual local area networks. They are installed by the user on the cloud infrastructure for them to be able to deploy the use of their application.
- Platform as a service (PAAS): – Cloud computing platform are delivered by the cloud providers. It includes an operating system, database, and web server. Developers of the application can try their software solution on the cloud platform. An example of this are Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure.
- Software as a service (SAAS): – Otherwise known as “on-demand software”, users are given access to application software and databases on a pay-per-use basis.
- Unified communication as a service (UCAAS): – Service providers deliver multi-platform communications over the network. Service providers can either be mobile or computer devices.
- Private cloud: – the infrastructure of the cloud is used solely by a particular organization. It can either be maintained internally or by a third party. They are often criticized as essentially lacking as they are still required to buy, build and manage resources. Plus, in order for them to function well, they need to be refreshed regularly. Thus adding more capital expenditures.
- Public cloud: – services or resources that are open for public use. The services offered are usually free or just pay the services that you have used. Known public cloud users are Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Their infrastructure and data are often accessed using the internet.
- Hybrid cloud: – They are composed of both private and public cloud. All though these two classifications are bound together, their entities are still dissimilar. The purpose of combining these two is user’s gets to enjoy multiple deployment models. For example, an organization temporarily uses public cloud resources to be able to meet their needs as private cloud is unable to do so.
Although the use of cloud computing has made it easier for the people to communicate and share resources or data, there is still a downside to it. To gain access to such resources, internet connection is very important. Whether you are in a remote location or in a highly urbanized city, as long as the internet connection is solid, you are able to retrieve the data.
However, if there is no internet connection or if your internet server is down, all access to such data or resources is gone. You will not be able to view, edit or make some changes to it. You have to wait for the internet connection to be available for you to be able to retrieve the data that you will need.
Hence, as much as you would want to take advantage of the benefits you would get from it, there are still individuals who are apprehensive in relying so much on.
With the way technology had been continuously changing over the years, anything can be possible. Time would probably come when cloud computing would be completely free from negative issues.