You may have heard the term "Cloud Computing" whispered around the water cooler. But what does it mean? And why is it important?
Cloud Computing is an umbrella term which covers many different trends. The term "cloud" is a metaphor for the Internet. So, Cloud Computing simply refers to storing more data on the Internet "cloud" than on local PCs and servers.
This is a logical progression for many companies who are experiencing the strain of IT demands. You probably already know how difficult and expensive it can be to install, configure, test, run, and update all the hardware and software required for your business applications.
With cloud computing, all this hard work is outsourced on a pay-as-you-go basis, and all the applications your company needs are installed once, and then "shared" on the Cloud Computing network. The only thing the local computers need to run is the Cloud Computing system's interface software, such as a web browser.
There are a few Cloud Computing terms you should get familiar with - let's take a look at the basics.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
PaaS refers to ready-made services that any Jo Blogs can access - for example, Google Mail and Google Docs. Many people are already using this form of cloud computing.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
IaaS is a model whereby an organisation out-sources the storage, hardware, software, and networking components used to support their business operations. This is generally on a pay-as-you-go basis.
RIA (Rich Internet Application)
This is another term you may have heard around lately. RIA refers to a rich Internet application that has a sophisticated user interface. It is sometimes used to describe programs such as Adobe's Flash plug-in, and advanced HTML applications.
Like we mentioned before, this is when multiple people can share a single application, which is "cloud" hosted.
Public, private and hybrid Clouds
Private clouds are used by organisations who do not trust their data with a third party - so they keep it private. Public clouds are providers such as Google, and a hybrid is a combination of both.
Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce.com, Google, and Apple are just a few of the companies who are now offering Cloud Computing. They're calling it the future of computing, so you should expect to be seeing a lot more of it!
That just about covers the basics of Cloud Computing. Now next time someone mentions it, you'll know what they are talking about! If you'd like to know more about Cloud Computing and how it can help your business, check in soon for our next blog post on the security benefits of Cloud Computing.