Ever since Amazon launched its software platform Eucalyptus in early 2008, cloud computing became the next big thing in IT. The potential for growth is immense and as more companies and individuals start using its features cloud computing is going to become a growing part of your future in one way or another. So what is Cloud and where is it taking us?
Cloud Computing is the practice of providing shared computing services, such as hardware and software resources, through a network to computers and other electronic devices. What does this mean in practice?
Let’s say you’re a mobile app developer and you feel or know for a fact that you do not have enough computer resources such as processing power or computer memory to develop your application. Would you buy a new computer to develop your app? Maybe in the Ye olden days (before 2008), but in today’s cloud based paradigm you should probably save your money for something else… maybe a new tablet.
Today to develop your app, without spending a lot of money on a new computer, you would simply rent the needed resources from those who have spare computing power. In fact you can keep working from your old computer and still develop your mobile app using powerful computer resources located somewhere else in the world. Simply rent the hardware or software resources through your cloud account for a set amount of time and for a fraction of the price you would pay to actually own those resources such as powerful new hardware or a software platform on which to develop your app.
A money saving cloud
In today’s interconnected world of business it’s easier than ever to acquire powerful resources at low cost which is sure to make your Chief Financial Officer very happy. Personal computing is going through a renaissance of its own. In this big paradigm shift you no longer need expensive software pre-installed on your computer in order to write documents, work with spreadsheets or create presentations. Now you can rent those resources and pay only for what you use and for the time you use it.
In today’s economy being financially flexible, especially as a business, can give you the edge over the competition.
Sure, the part you just read sounds pretty good, but there are some things to take into consideration. When relying on the cloud to deliver those powerful computing resources at low cost you need to keep in mind that you’ll only have those resources at your disposal as long as you are connected to the Internet. As long as you have a good working Internet connection and a good ISP you’ll have all the hardware and software resources you need, but the moment you disconnect you’re no longer able to enjoy the power and the flexibility of cloud computing. That’s just one thing to take into consideration when moving your business or personal computing to the cloud.
Another thing to consider is security. While cloud service providers have done a great deal to ensure good security for their users there really is no such thing as absolutely secure. Sometimes certain user files may even be safer on the servers of a cloud service provider than on often poorly protected personal computers. Probably one of the biggest issues Cloud service providers will need to face will be to convince users that their information is and will remain theirs and theirs only. Hand in hand with security come privacy concerns… Can users be absolutely sure that their data hosted on someone else’s servers is going to be accessed by them only?
A growing cloud
The cloud computing market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Business process services are expected to grow in market value from around $70 billion in 2011 to just over $150 billion in 2015. Cloud based applications are expected to make a financial growth of 10 billion US dollars, from $30 billion in 2011 to $40 billion in 2015. Need system infrastructure? This aspect of cloud computing is expected to experience the largest growth in relative values, more than 8 times its initial value of just over $5 billion in 2011 to over $40 billion in 2015. Application infrastructure is expected to grow between 4 and 5 billion US dollars in value from initial market value of around $1 billion in 2011 to around $5 billion in 2015.
Cloudy times ahead of us…
Cloud service users have a seemingly unlimited amount of computer resources available at comparably much lower costs than ever before. Sure, cloud computing like many other services and technologies has its issues, but the possibilities of using cloud computing among businesses and private users are immense. I would even argue that many businesses, especially start-ups, cannot afford to ignore it.
The cloud is here to stay, and guess what… you’ve been using it all along. If you have a webmail account or a facebook or YouTube account think about where all your data is stored? Are your webmail messages stored on your local computer or on a remote server somewhere in the world? How about your facebook images or your YouTube videos? You’ve been using it all along, now there’s a name for it.