What Is Cloud Computing?
A revolution is quietly happening behind the devices that people use each day. Cloud computing, in simple words can be defined as – Instead of running software and application processes on the local processor, it is on remote servers. The local device merely acts as an interface. Instead of storing data on a local servers / hard drives, this data is stored on a remote server. The user’s device acts as an interface and input device. It is merely a terminal for the front end of the software application. The actual processing is performed remotely in what has come to be called “the cloud.” The cloud is the network of remote servers that actually run the programs and store the data. While these remote servers are physically located far away, the data can be accessed all the time through the Internet.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
Cloud computing involves a front-end application that runs on a local computer. The application also has a backend, which is located on a remote server and does all the processing work. The user’s device i.e. computer, acts as a terminal to interface with the back end of the application. Often times the application interface is a web browser that connects the local device to the remote server. Sometimes particular applications have their own interface for the remote server. For example, a person has a contact management application. This person loads the application on his or her computer. From the user’s perspective, the application seems to operate just as if the software and data were on the local computer. However, in reality, all that is running on the local computer is the interface software. The computer processing and data storage occur on the remote server and the results are displayed on the local computer through the front-end interface. In order to use cloud software, one simply downloads the interface application and sets up an account. Sometimes there is a small monthly fee to use the software but often there is a free option with limited functionality to get started. One does not have to buy and license software. Instead, one pays for the software as a service. Further, a user can access their account from any device that has an internet connection.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
The primary advantage of cloud computing is the economies of scale that are produced. Companies no longer need to maintain their own servers. Instead, they can avail themselves of large remote servers that can process and store data more efficiently. A small business does not need to make the additional capital investment in servers and software to operate.
In addition, companies using the cloud will be more flexible. The software and data can be accessed from anywhere so the business can have a global workforce. The cloud makes more computing resources available for projects. With more resources, these projects can be completed more quickly. This improved speed makes the business more agile and flexible. Because the process is so flexible, it is easy to change direction and respond to the immediate needs of the market.
Disadvantage of Cloud Computing
The most common complaints about cloud computing are concern security and privacy. Using remote servers increases the chance that there will be a security breach. The need too constantly communicates with the remote server increase concerns about just how private this communication can really be. Other complaints involve the quality of customer service and support that software companies provide for these applications. Finally, there is the concern that most of the savings from cloud computing occurs up front. The fixed monthly fees might add up over the long term and wind up costing more than installing and maintaining servers and software. Companies looking to move their computing to the cloud should investigate this to make sure that this move is really going to be more cost effective. In the long run, it might be less expensive to maintain servers than to switch to cloud computing.
Who Is Using Cloud Computing Applications?
Today, everyone is using cloud-computing applications. Large corporations are using cloud computing so that employee can access their data at any time and share it with other employees. Small businesses are using cloud computing due to the low entry cost and convenience of accessing their data anywhere. Individuals are keeping their address books, personal files and photos in the cloud. Cloud computing is being used in every industry from education to retail and from health care to energy. The applications of this new model for computing are endless.
The Future of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a revolutionary new way to manage resources and data. Many businesses are moving their applications and data to the cloud. It seems to be the way of the future. Most commentators agree that the disadvantages to cloud computing are temporary growth pains and that good solutions will be found. When these problems are solved, more and more businesses will be taking advantage of the cloud.
About the Author: Cloud computing Perth firm Austin Technology can assist your business in finding the right solution.