Cloud computing is a term that has been finding its way into information technology related news on a regular basis for the past few years. New initiatives, new applications and new technological developments have kept this technology at the forefront of IT and led to exciting new changes in the way enterprise class computing is seen.
However, the concepts and ideas surrounding cloud computing continue to confuse most common users. The “Cloud” continues to stump a large contingent of IT professionals too as there is lot of conflicting information about the technology floating around on the internet.
To put things in better perspective, cloud computing is a relatively new technology that virtualizes the use of applications through the medium of the internet. Rather than physical installation of software and other applications on computer systems, cloud computing calls for installation and maintenance of the same applications on a single, centralized server. Multiple users are able to access and share this centrally stored application and information and use it in real time to achieve results not just quickly but also more efficiently.
The most typical examples of cloud computing are found in common business applications that were earlier used through personal computers but are now used through the internet. While application data in traditional software was stored locally on the machine, cloud computing takes this data and stores it on an online server.
While the applications of cloud computing are wide and divided, they can be broadly classified into seven categories:
1. Software as a Service
2. Platform as a Service
3. Utility Computing
4. Web Services
5. Managed Service Providers
6. Internet Integration and
7. Service Commerce
Most IT users at enterprise and individual levels have already started using cloud computing to some extent in their day-to-day tasks. However, to understand the full potential of this new development, cloud computing education and training can come in handy. By attending even a single day cloud computing class, users can grasp the full extent to which they can utilize this technology in their day-to-day tasks and gain maximum benefits from it in terms of productivity and turnaround time.
A cloud computing class would also allow users to learn the history of this technology and explain to them the basic idea behind this concept. Cloud computing is based on inspiration drawn from the telecom industry, which came up with the concept of Virtual Private Network (VPN) to meet the demands of long distance telephony at lower costs. By offering shared usage of bandwidth through optimum load balancing, VPN allowed telecom providers to cut cost while expanding their service range.
Some of the earliest players in cloud computing have been, Amazon and Microsoft, though commercial cloud computing was introduced by a lesser known company named Loudcloud. Microsoft and Amazon though can be credited with the growth in usage of the technology and also the increase in demand for cloud computing education.