What is Cloud Computing?

When it comes to this term, many people have their head in the clouds; they are simply unaware of what it means. There is plenty of confusion around cloud computing, but really it is a very simple concept.

It is all about storing and accessing data over the internet, rather than locally. It is a type of computing that relies on a pool of shared physical/virtual resources.

So why has something that seems so simple received so much time in the limelight recently? Well there a whole range of benefits of using cloud computing, both from an individual’s point of view to a business point of view. One of these is the flexibility that it provides through scalability. This implies that users only need to pay for the resources they actually use, increasing the output value and reducing inefficient expenses.

To think of cloud computing in another way, it’s quite like saving your money in a bank account. You could choose to keep all your cash on your person, or store it locally (under your mattress), or you could choose to use a central depository. This removes responsibility from your hands to theirs. Also, you only access it when required.

However, like all things, there is risk involved. A risk of using a bank account is that if the bank goes bust, you could lose your money. Similarly, in cloud computing, if the host goes down, you could lose access to all your stored data.

There is a slight variation when it comes to business cloud users compared to consumers. With business users, the cloud can be split into three different areas:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – online application subscription
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – create own applications using cloud as a platform
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – hardware can be leased by businesses

Overall, there are two sides to the debate, but it is generally accepted that cloud computing is, if not already, an inevitable wave sweeping through business and the world. Do we really want to keep every bit of cash on us at all times, or do we trust someone to store it for us?