What is Cloud Computing, really?
A closer look at some of the basic elements of this new technology that’s sweeping across the globe
When you think of the term “cloud computing”, elastic clusters of information and resources should immediately spring to mind. That’s really what cloud computing is; a big pool of resources which scales to the needs of the individual user or group. Many of the process (either hardware or software-based) are often virtualized too. In other words, that cloud service you have might using software to simulate hardware processing for you. In truth, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished with cloud computing, and we’ve probably only scratched the surface concerning its (true) capabilities.
What makes cloud computing such an interesting approach is the fact that it is really a merging of computing and networking technologies and resources. Right now, we’re all using mostly self-contained systems and devices. Meaning; each of our devices or systems has its own built in storage, processing, etc… With cloud computing, individual nodes, terminals, or users are essentially accessing the “guts” of their “computer” or system through a remote connection. In other words, their entire computer is being accessed remotely, as opposed to being locally controlled.
Aside from this novel fusion (between networking and computing), cloud computing offers yet another interesting benefit to users (subscribers, clients, etc…), which is increased functionality with less responsibilities. It wouldn’t be wrong to call cloud computing a “plug and play” type of computing / infrastructure solution. This is due to the fact that it (cloud computing) is entirely managed by the service provider. In other words, a cloud service provider takes care of everything for their client; the broker is there to support the aims of the buyer and client with their service(s).
We are going through a crucial point in the ongoing development of technologies. Many of these emerging technologies, like cloud computing, are in the process of being adopted by the larger corporations. This is yet another reason why businesses that are reliant on IT and other communications-driven technologies need to consider getting into cloud computing ASAP. One of the easiest and simplest ways to put your organization on the right pat is to push to have your entire IT department certified in any one of a number of cloud computing-related disciplines. The programs are great, the group rate discounts, terrific. Additionally many of these courses are deployed via the internet, so interferences with work schedules and such is a non-issue.
Characterizing the Cloud
There are a number of elements which, when bonded together, present the image of what we identify as cloud computing.
They are (in no particular order):
- Technology is accessed and presented as user needs arise; in other words, the technology molds to the requirements of users, rather than the users trying to cobble together a solution from what’s available.
- The interface is set up to facilitate the user and their data. Also, users have a great deal of control over their data.
- Vast resources including hardware are available; and used to create virtualized components.
- Complex infrastructure management system for analyzing and managing large volumes of data and ensuring that it is secure.
- The internet is the primary mode of ingress or access.
- From the user’s point-of-view, there appears to be no visible infrastructure present that’s driving everything.
- Presence of multiple large organizations; either as clients or service providers.
Basically, cloud computing is an attempt to reconcile the best aspects of networking with that of super computer-enabled virtualized computing. In the same way that you can create virtual “boxes” (with your OS) to house programs, applications, or even other Operating System’s; so can a cloud computer, but on a massive scale. Moreover, aside from the scale of the computing that’s taking place inside of a cloud computing, you have multitudes of individual “strings” or streams running simultaneously. It is only through the creation and deployment of an enormous central computing strategy that such a monumental workload can be easily processed (and handled).
Arguably, the most interesting question to ask is, what will people (and businesses) do with this “cloud” technology? Right now, cloud computing is being utilized to both aid in business processes as well as provide entertainment-based solutions. So, in other words, cloud computing is reaching out to disparate areas of both the private industry and general public. The truth is, however, we don’t really know how people are going to adapt the technologies of cloud computing. If you look to the past, you’ll see that the emergence of social media outlets has very quickly enabled sweeping changes to take place across society at large. With social media, we’re just talking about internet-based technologies that enable widespread sharing, for example. Given the fact that cloud computing is essentially a more evolved approach to internet-based deployment of technology, it is entirely foreseeable that (once cloud computing goes mainstream) it will once again, change the way we look at the world (and information / content / technology). What is cloud computing