Cloud computing is where software applications, processing power, data and potentially even artificial intelligence are accessed over the internet, or in simple words any situation in which computing [processing] is done in a remote location (out in the clouds), rather than on your desktop or portable device.
Many private individuals now regularly use an online e-mail application such as Gmail, yahoo mail and hotmail. Exchanging messages and sharing photos and video on social networking sites like Facebook is now also very common. Already over two million businesses have adopted the Google Apps online e-mail office suite and Google Docs online word processor. Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform also became commercially available. Mobile computers like Apple’s iPad, as well as netbooks and tablets running Google’s new Chrome OS operating system, are additionally very much intended as cloud access devices for a new computing age.
So what is the cloud? The “cloud” is a label for online computing resources rather than the entire Internet. The term “cloud computing” is also useful to separate the kinds of things we have been doing online for a couple of decades from a totally new age of online software and processing power.
Cloud computing is dynamically scalable because users only have to consume the amount of online computing resources they actually want. Cloud vendors including Amazon Web Services (AWS) now quite literally sell computer processing power by the hour. For example, anybody can now rent “virtual server instances” from Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud or “EC2“.
Cloud computing is device-independent because cloud computing resources can be accessed not just from any computer on the Internet, but also any type of computer.
Cloud computing is task centric because the usage model is based entirely around what users want to achieve, rather than any particular software, hardware or network infrastructure.
The above means that cloud computing empowers its users to just get on with what they want to do. Due to the fact that cloud computing is charged on a usage basis, it has no fixed costs. More than anything, the Cloud Computing Revolution is something to take part in rather than to read about. So go on, try an online word processor or spreadsheet or video editor or whatever takes your fancy.
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