Cloud Computing- The Virtual IT Infrastructure In layman terms, Cloud Computing is the process of storing & accessing data and programs over the web instead of your computer's hard drive. Here, cloud implies 'internet-based', hence the phrase cloud computing means "Internet-based computing", where utilities like storage and applications are delivered as a service to devices through the Internet. This virtual IT infrastructure is highly beneficial for businesses as it gives them greater agility in a today's dynamic marketplace. So how does it work? It uses a network of servers to spread dataprocessing chores across them. It has taken over both the business and the consumer segments alike. Here is how: 'Cloud' for Business â€“
Cloud computing has become increasingly popular in corporate data centers. This is because it helps the data center operate like the Internet by allowing computing resources to be shared as virtual resources in a secure and scalable fashion. For small and medium enterprises, the benefits are tremendous which explains its high rate of adoption. In this sector, resource limitations like
lack of time, manpower, financial resources to procure, deploy and maintain an IT infrastructure - software, server and storage often drive management decisions. In such a scenario, cloud computing solutions give them just what they need at a price that does not burn their pockets. These solutions provide a pay-as-you-go subscription model, which means the freedom to vary services as required and pay for just what they use. Also, there are different ways a business can integrate "cloud" into their operations: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Here the business subscribes to an application that it accesses over the Internet Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Here a business can create its own custom applications for all users in the company Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Here companies can rent out cloud infrastructure from players like Amazon, Google, and Rackspace 'Cloud' for a consumer Cloud has become an integral part of every consumer's personal computing space. Almost everything on computers, these days uses some form of cloud computing for storage eg: Microsoft Skydrive in the case of MS Office. Also, Microsoft offers web applications that are similar to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote that one can access using a browser without any software installations. Other major examples are Google's services like Google Drive, Calendar and so on. Then there are hybrid services like Box, Dropbox, and SugarSync that store a synched version of files online and on local storage. Synchronization that allows all devices to access the same data is pivotal to the cloud computing experience.
Devices are also becoming increasingly cloud-centric eg. Samsung Chromebook Series 3, an affordable laptop that has only local storage and power to let it run a browser. However, the biggest argument against it stays â€“ what if one needed to access data when offline! Whatever said and done, cloud continues to be a revolution of sorts that is continuously evolving in the IT space, driving businesses, both small and big in a highly dynamic market.