Cloud Computing: Opportunities and Concerns

Not just transforming personal lives, but it also holds potential for big businesses

Cloud computing is a buzzword these days. As Microsoft puts it, “Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently and scale as your business needs change.” The reason for calling it cloud computing is that the cloud symbol has been in use since the 1990s to represent the Internet in computer network diagrams. So, cloud computing is nothing but computing activities carried out over the internet.

If you have been using Web-based email service, you have been using cloud computing of sorts. The email operations of accepting, forwarding, delivering, and storing email messages and attachments is carried out not by your computer (called the client) but by the email servers (computers, programs and data storage systems located elsewhere) contacted over the internet. As a matter of fact, this client-server model was developed in the 1970s, and is the basis for cloud computing. Cloud computing has the potential to transform not only our personal lives, but also the operational efficiency of small and big businesses.

Types of Cloud Computing

Public clouds: These are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which deliver their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet, e.g., Microsoft Azure. Here, all hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.

Private clouds: This refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization, one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. It can be physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud.

Hybrid clouds: These combine public and private clouds, with technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. This allows for greater flexibility, more deployment options and helps optimise your existing infrastructure, security and compliance.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

These days, access to internet allows us to access our applications and data from any device, anywhere at any time. Sitting in a café, you can view and edit your documents with your mobile, using Microsoft’s Office Web Apps, Google Docs and Zoho Office. This is the cloud computing service model ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS).

Creative SaaS applications are music composition and audio-editing tools from Aviary, online video editors from JayCut and Pixorial, and online photo editors from Aviary and Pixlr. Most domestic users are going to need only SaaS applications. But SaaS is restrictive for businesses and companies, who need to develop and run their own software applications. For them, ‘Platform as a Service’ (PaaS) and ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ (IaaS) are on offer. – Read more

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