Cloud computing, or cloud learning, has been a popular buzzword lately, if you have not been living under a rock, it is very likely that you have heard of it. Even though many are aware that cloud computing is a thing, most are not quite sure what it means — what exactly does computer work have to do with the big fluffy clouds in the sky? To put it simply, cloud computing refers to computing services which include servers, networks, storage and analytics that are delivered over the internet (which is the cloud). This means that companies do not need to own expensive computing infrastructure, instead, they can pay cloud service providers to get access to applications and storage space. The metaphor of an omnipresent cloud in the term “cloud computing” is to emphasize that regardless of location, interested parties will be able to access services over the internet, from the cloud as long as they have an internet connection. Sounds pretty amazing right? Cloud computing can offer a lot of benefits, but also comes with some risks too.
Using cloud computing allows for quicker innovation, more flexible distribution of resources and more. The main benefit of cloud computing is that companies no longer have to pay hefty amounts to purchase and maintain computing infrastructure any more. This is a huge load off their backs as it requires a lot of money and manpower. Instead, they can reach out to cloud service providers and pay for the amount that they use when they need to. As the demand for in-house computing services slowly dies down, the importance and significance of cloud computing start to rise. Small and medium enterprises that cannot afford to hire experts and spend large amounts of money on building their own software, and have it become obsolete after a while can use cloud services to meet their user’s needs. They only pay for the services that they use allowing the business more agility and efficiency to grow. While hosting applications may not be cheaper in the long run for some, it can be a very good alternative for those who do not heavily require particular computing services in the operation of their business.
The rise in popularity of cloud computing does not just benefit companies and individuals, but service providers get a chunk of the pie too. As a specialized one-stop shop for computing services, cloud computing companies will be able to profit by providing the same services to many clients.
Cloud computing service providers make it easy for just about anyone to gain access to a variety of computing services without having to buy it all for themselves.
Cloud computing companies provide a wide range of services, from the basics such as storage to more complex services including artificial intelligence and office applications. The range is so extensive that you can find just about any service (that needs you to be in physical proximity to a computer) can be accessed and delivered by the cloud.
Cloud Computing Examples In Everyday Life
The services that you use in your everyday life, like Gmail and Netflix all use cloud computing in their operations. You might have purchased extra space in the cloud to store photos and videos on your smartphone too, it can make life a whole lot easier to have access to these pictures and videos on any device, and have added security as well. Many software providers have switched over to offering subscription services for access instead of selling standalone products, which can be more affordable for many.
It may seem like a new term, but cloud computing actually dates back to the 2000s, and computing services available for rent have been happening since the 1960s. Back then, computer bureaus rented out their mainframe for companies to use for an allocated amount of time. After computers became more affordable, many people started to purchase their own personal computers, but then application service providers and grid computing popped up, followed by cloud computing where software was available for rent.
Since the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more companies started to realize the true benefits and power of cloud computing. Due to the various lockdowns that forced employees to work from home, companies were pushed to transform their operations to allow for remote working. Using cloud computing meant that employees would be able to use applications, data and computing infrastructure even when they are not in the office.
Tech analysts have all predicted that cloud computing is going to progress to a much larger scale than it is today, as the worldwide expenditure on cloud computing services continues to rise with spending on cloud infrastructure services growing 35% higher in 2021 at about $191.7 billion. The prospect of the metaverse is only going to drive more growth opportunities for the cloud.
Core Elements Of Cloud Computing
There are essentially three major building blocks to cloud computing that providers offer — platform, infrastructure and software. Infrastructure refers to servers, both physical and virtual; while platforms include operating systems and database management; and last but not least, software such as Microsoft Office 365 which most people can access via web browsers and applications. There are many service providers who specialize in certain aspects of cloud computing, hence businesses tend to spread their load and use different providers. This is also known as multi-cloud computing, which has the advantage of getting the best of many worlds. However, this also means businesses can find it difficult to integrate their workflow with different cloud environments.
While this is just a quick snapshot of what cloud computing is, and how it can affect users and businesses, it is important to have a good grasp of what cloud computing entails. As more organizations and people start to adopt cloud computing in their operations, it is highly likely that we not be able to make use of the digital space without it, whether we know it or not. It is imperative that you learn more and use this new opportunity to your own advantage — this means reading and learning more about this new technological change.