The past two decades have seen numerous developments in technology, particularly in the world of computers, which are also being merged with other devices, such as cars and television sets. Cloud computing could be the best technological advance of the first ten years of the twenty- first century— better than tablets or smartphones, both of which had been in, or come into, existence during the previous decade. Here are seven reasons for holding this opinion.
1) It enables people to store more than they could on their own hard drives. Many businesses need more storage space for their numerous inventory files, minutes of meetings, and other items that they need for easy retrieval. Quite often, the amount of storage space required is more than the company can afford. Cloud computing will thus make possible the expansions of businesses in ways that would not have been thought possible a decade ago.
2) Costs of business are greatly reduced when data is stored in the cloud, being converted from capital to operational expenses. Such lowered costs make it possible for businesses and individuals to enter into areas in which they otherwise could not, thus equalizing the economic playing field. This is all the more true when for the fact that so far fewer technological and engineering skills are needed to operate the cloud.
3) Sharing files and information can also be done on a wider scale than they could before. Such sharing is made possible by virtualization—in other words, by the creation of “virtual,” as opposed to physical, versions of things. A virtual machine is regarded as a complete unit by those who are using it, even though it is in reality nothing more than a collection of files. Those who work in different areas of the same business can use this facility to share information about them in those places where they overlap. “Snapshots” may also be taken of a virtual machine as it was at any given point in time, and serve as additional records.
4) Not only individual files, but whole resources and expenses, may be shared among a group of users. This capacity is known as multi-tenancy, and it has opened up a wide range of new possibilities. An infrastructure, for example, may be stored in a central location to save money, not only on space, but on software licenses, since this are distributed among several individuals.
5) Security is one of the biggest issues facing the computer world. Of course, the use of computers to commit crimes antedates the Web by more than thirty years, but the Web has increased the opportunities for such theft thousandfold. Here, too, is an area in which cloud computing really proves its value. Again, the costs are vastly reduced on security as the cloud provider is often able to give protection even though individual clients may not be able to afford it. The centralization of data also makes security easier to maintain. Those who fear that having data shared among diverse users may actually be less secure—because more complex—can rest assured that they have the option of having cloud servers privately installed on their systems.
6) Because files stored in a cloud system can be accessed from anywhere—including away from one’s desktop, provided the user has a mobile phone—individual users can share data while “on the go.” Thus, if one person needs to share data with a particular colleague immediately, he can easily do so.
7) It is easy to adapt a cloud system to suit the needs of particular clients.
In short, storing data in the cloud has many huge implications that are especially useful in businesses, but which can also be used by private individuals, such as professors when storing information related to the courses they teach. People may also be able to share things about themselves in their spare time.
Cloud computing is the technological advance of a decade. This may prove true, additionally, for many of the services that resemble it, including automatic computing (in which the system can manage itself), utility computing (resources being packaged together), grid computing (pooling resources to reach a common goal), and peer to peer sharing.
Linda Le is a tech blogger, and proud user of cloud host with ProfitBricks and data center management.