Cloud Computing Introduction

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Cloud computing is a new buzz in the Information Technology world. As the name implies, cloud computing includes anything that involves applications and services that run and hosted on the internet.

Actually, in spite of the fact that the term of “cloud computing” is somehow new, the concept itself is not so new. We have already used cloud computing for long ago. Anytime we use an application that is not hosted on our own computer, we make use of the cloud computing services available on the internet. We are all familiar with email services provided by Gmail, or Yahoo. This is actually a services we get from the so called “cloud computing”. So the first basic concept of cloud computing is simple: the use of services hosted somewhere in the internet, per demand, rather than hosting the services permanently on our computer.

But what’s new about cloud computing? Why is it perceived as a new technology?

The buzz has built lately due to the increasing use of internet by the world’s population, either for personal purposes or for firms and large companies. The increase of demand for services and applications that are located somewhere in the internet cloud, rather in our computer, paved the way for new technologies, well suited for distributed computing power and distributed services, with high availability to everyone, at any time.

The service itself is maintained by the service provider. The cloud computing service provider needs to manage the service efficiently in order to enable access to service by many users at a given time. He needs to use new technologies of high speed interfaces such as Infiniband, Fiberchannel, and GigaBit Ethernet, as well as computer technologies such as virtualization and compression. Special software platforms need to be used too. Keeping scalability of the hosted cloud is also one of provider’s main concerns. Security aspect should be resolved. Payment models were developed too.

All these capabilities, requirements and characteristics, and more, posed technical challenges that eventually brought about to innovative technologies in the field of cloud computing.

Who befits from cloud computing technology?

Cloud computing is beneficial for users that needs access to computing capabilities, or to other services, on a random basis. Or, it is beneficial if such a service is too expensive to maintain permanently on local computers or laptops.

In addition to regular people that do access application on the internet (and actually use cloud computing technology without being aware to this), cloud computing can be beneficial, for example, to students, that need some computing strength that is not available by their privately held computer.

Also, the use of cloud computing is most beneficial to firms that, instead of enhancing and investing in their own IT  Infrastructure, can now, on an on-demand basis, access the various services and applications available on the internet, and use them smartly, and reduce their IT expenses. This may hold for research institutes such as universities, or even colleges.

To summarize, cloud computing paved the way for innovations and enhancements in many technologies in the fields of computing, software, and hardware infrastructure. Private users, as well as institutes, can benefits from the cloud computing services, by intelligent use of services, on demand.

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The author holds B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering, M.Sc. degree in Interdisciplinary Engineering, and MBA degree.

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