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‘Moving Into the Cloud’: Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand.

Cloud computing represents a major change in how we store information and run applications. Instead of hosting apps and data on an individual desktop computer, everything is hosted in the “cloud”—an assemblage of computers and servers accessed via the Internet. Users can access applications via a browser, while the applications as well as the data are installed and stored on a server.

Clouds often appear as single points of access for all consumers’ computing needs. The major cloud service providers include Microsoft, Salesforce, HP, IBM, Amazon and Google.

End – User Advantages of Cloud Computing:

  • Lower computer costs: Since web-based applications run in the cloud, your desktop PC doesn’t need the processing power or hard disk space demanded by traditional desktop software.
  • Improved performance: Computers in a cloud computing system boot and run faster because they have fewer programs and processes loaded into memory.
  • Reduced software costs: Instead of purchasing expensive software applications, you can get most of what you need for free. This alone may be justification for switching to cloud applications.
  • Instant software updates: When you access a web-based application, you get the latest version automatically every time you log in to the cloud – without needing to pay for or download an upgrade.
  • Improved document format compatibility: You don’t have to worry about the documents you create on your machine being compatible with other users’ operating systems – all documents created by web-based applications can be read by any other user accessing that application.
  • Unlimited storage capacity: Cloud computing offers virtually limitless storage. Your computer’s current 200 gigabyte hard drive is peanuts compared to the hundreds of petabytes (a million gigabytes) available in the cloud. Whatever you need to store, you can.
  • Increased data reliability: Unlike desktop computing, in which a hard disk crash can destroy all your valuable data, a computer crashing in the cloud shouldn’t affect the storage of your data.
  • Universal document access: Ever get home from work and realize that you left an important document at the office? With cloud computing your documents stay in the cloud, and you can access them instantly wherever you have a computer and an Internet connection.
  • Latest version availability: When you edit a document at home, that edited version is what you see when you access the document at work.
  • Easier group collaboration: To many users, this is one of the most important features—multiple users can collaborate easily on documents and projects. Because the documents are hosted in the cloud, not on individual computers, all you need is a computer with an Internet connection, and you’re collaborating.
  • Device independence: Finally, here’s the ultimate advantage: You’re no longer tethered to a single computer or network. Change computers, and your existing applications and documents follow you through the cloud. Move to a portable device, and your apps and docs are still available – they stay the same no matter what computer or other device you’re using.

Key Operating Features:

  • Cost – is greatly reduced and capital expenditure is converted to operational expenditure, which lowers barriers to entry.
  • Multi-tenancy – enables sharing of resources and costs across a large pool of users thus allowing for:
    1. Centralization of infrastructure
    2. Peak-load capacity increases
    3. Utilization and efficiency improvements for systems
    • Reliability - is improved if multiple redundant sites are used, which makes well designed cloud computing suitable for business continuity and disaster recovery.
    • Agility – improves with users’ ability to rapidly and inexpensively re-provision technological infrastructure resources.
    • Scalability – via dynamic (“on-demand”) provisioning of resources on a self-service basis. One of the most important new methods for overcoming performance bottlenecks for a large class of applications is data parallel programming on a distributed data grid.
    • Security – is often as good as or better than under traditional systems, in part because providers are able to devote resources to solving security issues that many customers cannot afford.
    • Maintenance – cloud computing applications are easier to maintain, since they don’t have to be installed on each user’s computer. They are easier to support and to improve since changes reach the clients instantly.
    • Metering – cloud computing resources usage should be measurable and should be metered per client and application on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. This will enable clients to choose the vendor cloud on cost and reliability.

    So it’s pretty clear that cloud computing will be the way of the future. It frees you from the tyranny of desktop computing and opens up new forms of group collaboration, adding to mobility, flexibility and ease of use in an increasingly global workplace. Stay connected, folks!