You have already used some form of cloud computing if you have an email account with a web-based email service such as Gmail, Yahoo! Email and Hotmail. The software and storage space for your account resides on the Service’s cloud servers, not on your own computer. Some experts say that the desktop PC will soon be obsolete and all that is needed for cloud computing in the near future will be a monitor connected to an ISP and the corresponding apps on a smartphone.
The term “cloud” is an apt metaphor for this emerging use of the internet…it’s infinitely large, somewhere out there in the sky, and all fuzzy around the edges. cloud computing is. more or less. a collective term used to describe a range of different trends; All relate to the Internet and the use of computers. Most computer experts agree that computing activity and capability will expand far beyond current levels and will completely transform the way businesses and individuals use computers.
Industry experts are fairly certain that cloud computing will change the future of IT forever, but speculation abounds as to exactly how it will pan out. All the big players are trying to get in front of the wave; Companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, AT&T, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Unisys, Cognizant, GE and hundreds more. Despite all this anticipation and excitement, there are many IT pros who are still unsure of exactly what it is. They are unsure whether security and privacy issues can be properly managed or how it will affect their work.
Cloud computing generally offers customers more services at a lower cost; that is the basic benefit and promise. Customers must trust their personal and business data to remote services, but in return they get access to more software and a wider range of services than they could normally afford. Cloud customers become members or subscribers of cloud service providers at very cheap rates and can access huge libraries of resources when needed and store all their files remotely for safekeeping. The suppliers do all the heavy lifting and provide the infrastructure for the service or software; customers enjoy all the benefits without having to bear the development costs. Customers only pay for monthly usage of the services, much like customers now pay their monthly fees to a utility or phone company that owns all the wires, towers and power plants.
Accordingly, some vendors and analysts have defined cloud computing as “utility computing” where data centers resemble power plants. What power plants did for the use of electricity, data centers are now being built to provide virtual servers available to the customer base over the Internet. Others have defined it as anything digital consumed outside the firewall of their personal workspaces “in the cloud”. As access to electricity became more and more available to customers, it spawned all sorts of new inventions to harness it. Similarly, as the industry develops, an incredible amount of new products and services are expected to be developed for cloud users.
Cloud computing offers a variety of types of services: infrastructure, platform, software, storage, security, data, testing environment, desktop, application programming interface (API), and hundreds more. For example, customers who use software as a service typically rent the software applications and databases. The cloud providers own and manage the platforms and infrastructure on which the applications run, much like web hosting is now provided to individual users. Subscribers access cloud-based applications through a web browser or a lightweight mobile or desktop application. The cloud service provider also provides the data center and server to store its data in a location remote from the customer’s computer; which increases security and reduces the need for large IT staff. Developers claim that cloud computing allows entrepreneurs to get their applications up and running much faster than traditional means, with less maintenance and improved manageability. It also enables businesses and individuals to more quickly adjust resources to meet unpredictable and fluctuating business needs by accessing network IT consultants and support engineers.
There is also a significant workload shift offered by cloud computing. Computers on the local network don’t have to do all the work when it comes to running applications. The computer network that spans the cloud or data center handles all applications instead. The software and hardware requirements on the customer side are therefore significantly reduced. The only software that the user really needs to run on their personal computer is the cloud computing system interface software, which could be an off-the-shelf conventional browser. The cloud network would do the rest online.
Right now, the market stands by the side of the road and watches as all cloud options unfold like a parade just turning a street corner. There are some security concerns as companies need to trust the provider to store their data remotely and securely, protecting it from hackers, piracy, viruses, etc. There is also a slight fear of being “held hostage” by cloud providers once a company has all of its data on its servers; and not only with the service prices, but also with upgrades and memory expansions. Users are typically a “captive audience” and while they might switch cloud computing providers if things get troubled, the biggest fear is loss of control over proprietary information and technological downtime due to problems in the network infrastructure between the user and the data center . What would happen if a solar flare affected not only a data center but also the satellite and microwave transmission system to the end user? Without a dedicated backup system, entire organizations could be vulnerable to situations beyond their direct control that could put them out of business.
For internet marketers, cloud computing is changing both the means and the content of what is marketed. Marketing vendors and organizations are being forced to launch new products and services that will transform the way their markets manage their computing resources.
Marketers now have access to new technology tools using a wide range of cloud applications that enable them to transform their marketing campaigns using web-based platforms and infrastructure. Internet marketers are always looking for an edge to make more sales and it’s all about being the first to adapt to cloud computing because it saves time and money. As more customers migrate to cloud computing, the pressure on marketers to become more efficient, more innovative, and doing more with less is increasing. People quickly lose their jobs and income if they can’t get results, so those who can get the job done and have less money to spend will survive.
However, people and businesses are afraid of change and like to stay on familiar ground, and they will do so until they are forced to make the transition. Right here we are in the cloud revolution… waiting to take the first step… and while we wait, the giant corporations are coming up with the gadgets, gimmicks, and business models that will transform the way we use computers , will change forever .