Welcome to the cloud (a beginner’s guide to cloud computing)

After the inception of desktops, people were of the idea that it was more beneficial to get a job done by themselves, with the help of some readymade software.

But what if you were someplace else away from YOUR PC, then what? It is nice to fantasize about a time when we would be able to conjure up all the information or services we needed.

But wait a minute; don’t we already live in that age? Independent of what PC we are using it is possible to access our information and services. So how does this work?

Welcome to the world of cloud computing:

In a more technical term, cloud computing would be referring to the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data.

Instead of being a prisoner to the software and hardware of your desktop, cloud computing gives you a bit more agility. You can use services of another company in a seamless manner, over the internet.

This service can be data processing of some style or simply data storage.

Your everyday use of cloud computing

I’m sure that you are quite invested in the cloud, and you don’t even realize it. Storing up data in services like OneDrive, Dropbox are all examples of using the cloud as your storage.

Again if you tweak your pictures using picmonkey.com instead of some software installed on your PC you are also using the cloud. Using Google Docs over Microsoft word is also an example affirms your involvement in the cloud.

Where is the line between cloud computing and everyday offline computing

Let’s discuss an example to shower more light n the subject. Suppose you are using Google Docs as your word processor. You have written a document. It gets saved. Do you know where it is stored? Now this saved document of yours can be accessed from any computer as long as there is an active internet connection and you provide your login ID and password.

Again while using Google Docs, you don’t have to worry about outdated software. Everything is up to date. You don’t have to agonize about renewing a license, or creating a backup of your created file.

You just concentrate on your work and the problems of providing dependable computing are a weight on someone else’s shoulder. What you are doing here is “outsourcing” some of your computing needs to another company, in this case, Google and they handle the software and storage for your work.

So with cloud computing, you are getting an “on demand”, “well managed” service with manageable privacy settings. You can make thinks private, but the option to make your work public is quite useful in some instances.

For example, if it weren’t for the cloud, it would have been impossible to collaborate on a project with people in different places.

So what are pros and cons of cloud computing?

Advantages:

With cloud computing, you have the option to buy just the services you want and when you want them. This makes the upfront capital investment quite less.

You don’t have to worry about issues of system security, reliability or keeping thing up-to-date.

You can add extra services at a moment’s notice and have the ability to access your data from other computers as well.

Disadvantage:

Though the upfront cost of services is less, but this will become an ongoing operating cost which might become more expensive in the long run.

If you use services like data processing, then you need a high-speed broadband connection the whole time you’re working. This is not a feasible option in many countries.

So cloud computing, in brief, can be looked upon as a service rental compared to buying the service as a whole.

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