What Is ‘Cloud’ Computing? Partly Sunny And Partly Stormy

Posted on January 30, 2011 in Sci-Tech

By Soumit Saha:

Cumulus, Nimbus stratus etc. Why am I chanting harry potter spells? Well for starters these words are names of the types of clouds in the sky. Why then, am I giving a lesson in meteorology?

What I’m upto, is hinting at the storm rising in the World of Internet, Cyber services and computing. I present to you “Cloud Computing “.

Sounds like using computers in clouds? Read on.

Cloud computing, put in very layman terms is based on an idea which we use daily, your electricity grid. You pay when you use it and metering stops when you don’t and you have electricity everywhere. Now to understand the cloud, replace that electricity with the omnipresence of all your software applications from basic word processing to games, and data like photos to movies.

Let’s say you’re on the move and working. You’d have to carry all your custom software and data along, wouldn’t you? Or say you’re an executive at a company and have to keep purchasing new software licenses to accommodate your employee intake. To ease all that out, the internet’s cooking up a cloud.

So basically, picture infinite computers called servers with infinite storage and processing power lying at some random location on the planet. Connect their capabilities to a central node, at the other end of which you and I are present. These computers owned by Cloud Service giants like Microsoft, Google etc. give you access to all your data and application anywhere you are, with the sole needs of an Internet connection and its web-based browser interface. If you’ve used applications like Google Spreadsheets or Picasa photo sharing, you’ve been using the cloud. How so? Because you have that data or application available to you wherever you are. You may not know where it’s stored, but it sure is stored somewhere.

What’s the whole hoopla about if it’s so simple? Well imagine not having to purchase high speed and memory intensive hardware to run giant software or purchasing software licenses for corporate use.

I got all of that, but it can’t be all perfect? It isn’t. Consumers are scared of their data’s security and their own privacy being traded off to another company. And who exactly has the right to own that data? Can cloud companies restrict me from my own data?

Using the cloud will be easy, access it from any terminal and an interface browser and pay per use which basically is being thought of now to be negligible. Just log in and voila! Your very own software usage anytime, from anywhere.

Having said so much, I leave you with some pondering on whether you find the cloud an easy alternative or does it make you skeptical. So decide what the weather will be for Cloud Computing – partly sunny, partly stormy?