Cloud Computing, Clarified…for the Confused cloud computing clarified

Cloud Computing for Dummies


Chances are, the computer or device you’re using right now is a completely self-contained unit. In other words, your computer or device has its own storage, OS, hardware, software, and functionality, apart from its ability to connect to and use the internet (and its services). That makes it “self-contained”, right? Well, what if you were to turn that concept “on its head” and instead, have all of your computing resources centralized (along with those of many others) to a completely separate location? If you did that, you would basically have cloud computing. cloud computing clarified

Cloud computing comes in a couple of different “flavors”, also. For instance, you have the scenario where lots of remotely and randomly located servers and essentially bundled together, forming a big “cloud” of sorts. This combined power is in turn, managed from perhaps another place altogether and used to build a loose but coherent central infrastructure. That collective infrastructure then supports the ability to create virtualization for individual users and groups, and so on and so forth.

Another “flavor” of cloud computing, if you will, would be the private cloud. With a private cloud, extensive hardware resources are controlled (in part or entirely) by one organization or group (of organizations). In other words, the private cloud is set up and established to provide only a limited number of people with cloud computing services; it is not being leveraged to provide services to the consumer or professional public.

Then you have extensive and powerful public clouds (and service providers / brokers) that are set up by companies who are seeking to capitalize on it in some way. For example, even if a cloud service is offered for free, perhaps there is advertising going on to create profits and/or offset operational costs. A lot of big companies (like Google) are offering (or looking to begin offering) cloud computing-based services. In turn, most of these services are provided at lower costs which are based entirely on consumption; so, you get what you pay for, and you only pay for what you get. Amazon is one of the most visible exponents of cloud-based services for individuals. As you are probably already well aware, they are trying to steer consumers in the direction of investing their potential music budgets toward digital products and services.

Regardless of the manner in which you expect to receive your cloud computing service, chances are (unless you have the money to build a private cloud), you will go through a cloud provider. Most businesses out there are going to be relying on, and looking for cloud providers as well. If competition in the cloud computing industry remains high, it’s entirely foreseeable that providers may begin tailoring their services to better suit specific types of businesses or industries.

The end result of all of this could mean even cheaper overall computing costs for businesses when cloud computing really becomes a mainstream ticket item. This is why, if you are a business owner, IT manager, business manager, (or even affiliated with budgets and accounting), etc…you need to have cloud computing “on your radar”, so to speak. For those people who have more direct control over their IT assets and personnel, it might be very wise to consider having these individuals complete some form of certification in cloud computing. Or, at the very least, some form of training.

But getting back to what cloud computing actually is, or rather, does; it’s really about creating scalability while redefining the relationship between computing and networking. What is meant by the term “scalability”? Try to imagine the total amount of processing power, as well as energy consumption, which a cloud is capable of producing, handling or consuming.

Under the current model for computing and networking, individual machines are often ridiculously overpowered for what their intended uses are, and might even go virtually unused most of the time. At the same time, these machines will likely be left powered on and unattended. So, what you have is an abundance of both processing power and energy being wasted, and producing no work or additional benefit. In a cloud computing scenario however, both energy and processing power is “scaled” and delivered to individual users based on their need at any given time.

The end result is access to even more power and resources for those who need it, and significant savings in terms of energy consumption costs. Likewise, the way cloud infrastructure uses energy is arguably, the most efficient way it can be done given our current level of technology, or course.

Simply put, cloud computing is what you get when you merge computing with networking. Instead of thinking of your (cloud-enabled) machine or device as its own entity, what you have is more like a monitor. All of the hardware, software, storage and infrastructure is virtually absent, because it’s in a remote location. As a cloud user, you would be essentially paying for a complete computing and networking solution service. In other words, cloud computing could very well become sort of like a utility service (water, electricity) in the very near future. If the costs are low enough and the benefits are high enough, what’s to prevent nearly everyone from turning to cloud computing in lieu of the system / model we currently have in place?

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