Programming Tutorials

What is cloud computing?

By: William Alexander in Trends Tutorials on 2009-04-03  

If you have seen any system architecture diagrams, which I guess you should have, you couldn't have missed the cloud in the center of any system diagrams. The cloud usually means "Internet". So it goes without saying that the cloud in "cloud computing" simply means the Internet. However when computing is added to it, there is a whole new meaning. As with any upcoming technology buzzwords, "cloud computing" is bound to have many definitions. It simply means any service that is available over Internet.

If you are wondering why would someone need this. In any IT environment, the available resources always has a limit and is a bottleneck to the whole performance. With cloud computing there is no limit to the available resources as the infrastructure, applications and services are provided over the internet and hence there is no need for in house IT infrastructure to host applications. Similarly the licensing, version control of services and applications will also be managed by the cloud computing providers.

When talking about cloud computing, you cannot miss discussing about SaaS. Software as a Service has been there for a while now, but recently it is gaining more and more focus as cloud computing concept is getting more acceptable. In fact it is not totally wrong to say that cloud computing and SaaS are one and the same. When software is provided as a service, the end user need not worry about buying and managing licenses of each of the applications an enterprise needs. They also do not require an IT infrastructure and IT manpower to maintain and support the system. For a monthly subscription fee usually in a pay per use model, a startup company can start using any software right from day one.

That doesn't mean that SaaS is only for Startups and Smaller companies. Even medium and large companies can benefit from cloud computing, by switching to cloud computing as it can greatly reduce their OPEX (Operational Expenses) by removing the need to rent, maintain, support data centers and IT professionals to manage the same. Big names like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, are all market leaders in promoting cloud computing.

It only needs to be seen, what will be the take up rate of SaaS in different regions of the world. Since the whole idea depends on a strong Internet Bandwidth availability from end to end. Many SaaS providers are mushrooming around the world, some big and some small. The success of these providers depends on customizing the available applications and adding values with their own strengths to differentiate themselves from the rest of the croud.

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