The fairly new concept of Cloud Computing has hit the world of business with a ‘BANG’, and is being adopted, not only by Small and Medium sized Businesses but also by Large Enterprises. This is rapid shift towards this emerging technology is due to its ability to cut down IT costs by many folds, and the allowance it gives to enterprises to focus their energies and resources to their core business. In this article, I will attempt to explain, briefly and without the use of a lot of technical terms, what cloud computing is, and how it is helping businesses do what they are created to do.
The ‘CLOUD’ in Cloud Computing
If you have an email account like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo-mail etc., then you are already using cloud services being offered to you by your email service provider. The Cloud is a collection of all the servers and IT infrastructure being utilized by your email service provider to manage your email account and store its content. Since you do not have any physical evidence of your email being managed and handled, yet it seems to be happening, we say that it is happening somewhere in the Cloud. The Cloud of servers, functioning in in large datacenters, you may never know where. The benefit of having an email account with these service providers is that it is completely free for you, the user. There is no physical equipment, apart from a laptop, desktop or mobile device that you need to have, along with an internet connection, to access your email.
Adding ‘COMPUTING’ to the Cloud
Like with email providers, Cloud Computing service providers also maintain their own servers and complete IT infrastructures residing at various datacenters through which they are able to offer Cloud Computing solutions to their customers. UNLIKE email providers, however, Cloud Computing service providers rent out not just email capabilities, but entire virtual desktops and servers, software, data storage capabilities, data security, disaster recovery and management solutions and a whole bunch of other stuff, which the user may access from any place, at any time, using any desktop, laptop or mobile device, along with an internet connection.
Cloud Computing Possibilities
Imagine being able to access your own desktop, and all the data stored thereon, while sitting at a train station or an airport. Imagine hundreds of your employees having access to their own personalized desktops and all the information that they require, from anywhere, without actually ever owning a single physical machine. Imagine giving access to software to all your employees, without ever worrying about maintain a record of the number of licenses you have available. Imagine utilizing all of these services for a nominal monthly charge, and being able to add or reduce their number as and when required. Imagine being rid of the increasingly high costs of maintaining a complete IT infrastructure, along with skilled IT labor to manage the infrastructure, forever. These are a few of the many possibilities of utilizing Cloud Computing services. Cloud Computing providers host these services on their own IT infrastructure, which is maintained by their team of highly skilled IT professionals and rent them out to you, relieving you of the HUGE IT costs and headaches. In a nutshell, due to the reason mentioned above, it is the opinion of this writer, that Cloud Computing is THE complete IT solution, and the way to the future for any enterprise, regardless of its size, scale and nature of business.