Saturday, August 20, 2011

What is Cloud Computing and Cloud Software

What is Cloud Computing and Cloud Software

Author: Ted Brumby

There was a time, in the distant past, when data and software had to be stored and processed on or near the computer of the person using it. Of course 'the distant past' in the computer world could refer to the previous twelve months. In this case, it means up until the late 1990s, when 'cloud computing,' both as a concept and as a practicality, began to become a reality.

[caption id="attachment_8" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Cloud Computing Australia"]The Cloud Computing Australia: What is Cloud Computing and What is Cloud Computing Software[/caption]

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a technical definition: 'Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction'.

In other words, cloud computing is the on-demand provision of computational resources such as data and software through a computer network instead of from a local computer. Users perform a task to without having the required software or hardware on-hand. The user's computer may only contain a basic operating system and/or web browser that simply serves as a display terminal which has been connected to the Internet.

Cloud computing is an extension of LANs, or local area networks, which allowed several storage devices or CPUs to be organized to increase the performance of the entire system. Cloud computing allows a functional separation between the software and hardware used, usually outside the LAN, and the user's computer. This location is often in a remote datacentre of some kind, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

Practically, this means that any user, as long as they have an Internet connection, can store and access files such as bookmarks, pictures, music, and videos. The user no longer has to carry a DVD or thumb drive to perform word processing tasks and even play games, but can accomplish these tasks on a remote server. Today, even email can be used with cloud software, whether it's web-based, company owned, or a client program.

Why the use of the term 'cloud'? It's a metaphor for the Internet, based on how the telephone network used to be represented, and later to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams which depicted its underlying infrastructure. In cloud computing, details are removed from users, meaning that they don't need to have expertise, or even control over, the technology infrastructure as long as they're in the 'cloud' that supports the technology they\'re using.

Cloud application services, also called Software as a Service, or SaaS, deliver software as a service over the Internet. This eliminates the need to install and run the application on a user's computer, which simplifies maintenance and support.

A good analogy of cloud computing is most people's use of electricity. For most of us, all we have to do is flip a switch to use it. We don't have to control or even understand the technology behind it. As a matter of fact, most of the technology we use every day can be understood in this way.

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About the Author

Ted Brumby has been running a small business for a while and so he guarantees that technological devices such as cloud software or crm tools are vital implements for all businesses. According to Ted, cloud computing means mobility and speed in daily procedures, supporting and generating good quality of work for all staff.

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