Computing has come a long way since the first IBM PC ever built for a common man. From a few KBs of RAM running the primitive and complex operating systems to the fastest desktop, laptop and even handheld devices, no one had ever gauged the evolution of these electronic data cruncher. The latest form of computing being the cloud version. Many of us know what it stands for , but for those newbies to the virtual world, here it is in laymans language.
Cloud computing is nothing but virtual computing. Except that the hardware is real but minimal, and software is virtual. All you need is a basic internet capable computer, and an internet connect with respectable speed. The computer connects to the internet and the software applications and the storage is present on the cloud, ie. internet itself. Its bit hard to understand the logic behind adopting this method of computing initially, but the advantages are vast in number.
First of all, lets say you are a CADD professional working from home as a freelancer. You get individual projects from different firms, which require different softwares to complete them. You have two option in such case. Either you buy all the softwares as per the client requirement, wherein the cost shoots up, or you use pirated softwares which will either crash at crucial point or not give you complete functionality. And your client will insist on the work being carried out on legal software. Also the hardware requirement for such work is unimaginable. So what choice are you left with? Well, cloud at your help.
The modus operandi of cloud is that you subscribe for their service after paying a nominal fee, which is far less than he cost of he software and the hardware. The cloud servers for that particular software will have enough resources to execute your programs smoothly. All you need to do is login to the cloud using your credentials, on a high speed internet line which is becoming more and more accessible. Upon logging, you will be greeted by a welcome screen very similar to your home computer. One advantage is that you can access cloud from anywhere, any computer.
Cloud computing is already in place in big business houses relying on computer networks for their day-to-day activities. Very powerful servers host the application which are then accessed by hundreds of users at a time. The only difference is that it is limited to an organisation and an outsider doesn’t have an access to those applications.
The second aspect of cloud computing is storage. The size of the storage devices have bombed out, yet they seem to be lesser by day. Cloud services will give enough storage to dump all your data at one place on the net and access it from anywhere, at anytime. All you need to do is create a secure password to protect all your data, and you are free from worries. Even the backup is not your lookout, as its handled by the service provider.
Application hosting on cloud, along with data storage, security and backup will be a big boon to large companies, who spend lots of money on these infrastructure. (My wife will lose her job if all this is shifted to cloud). But cloud computing has been on the web in bits in pieces in various forms. Picassa allows storage and editing of pictures using their online utility. Thats nothing but a miniature cloud. Playing mulitplayer games online is nothing but a form of cloud computing.
Google has taken up the initative along with many other companies but giving cloud services in form of google docs, the online version of office package. Even microsoft has come up with office live workspace as a competition to google docs. But a few month back I had a raw taste of virtual, or rather cloud computing, when I downloaded chrome operating system, which when booted, into greeted me with just the logging screen for my google ID. Upon login, I was surprised to find some office applications from docs ready for my use. Though in its early stage, chromium OS is making true headway towards cloud computing.