Cloud computing is one of the biggest technology innovations of our time. If you are curious about what cloud means: it is another name of internet. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more—over the internet. It provides us the means to store and access the data and programs on the internet instead of hard drive of the computer. In past, people used to store the data on their local drives and, needed to enhance the storage capacity of the hard drives of their PCs. However, cloud computing has changed that scenario altogether. It provides us the means to store and access the data and programs over the internet on some remote server instead of computer’s hard drive. Interestingly and unknowingly, we have been using the service of cloud facility since long, in the form of email.
Cloud computing has three main types that are commonly referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Web-based email service is a good example of SaaS, in which we do not have to worry about underlying operating system and the servers. It is a method for delivering software applications over the internet. PaaS is a type of service in which the Cloud computing service provider takes care of the hardware and operating system while the company buying this service focuses on the deployment and management of the application. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, and operating systems—from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Cloud computing has become more popular and cheaper for startups, who are working to solve a problem when the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. Cloud computing provides them with an easy and economical access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. Rather than spending large amounts of money and extra effort to purchase servers and other hardware, and hiring employees to manage this whole system, cloud computing provides these startups with on-demand delivery of low-cost IT resources. Now, these small companies don’t need to make large upfront investments, and can try their innovative ideas using cloud-computing for hardware management.
One relatively recent survey of 550 startups from BestVendor has found that a majority of them use cloud-based resources: QuickBooks (71%) for accounting, Google Analytics (70%) for BI, Salesforce.com (59%) for customer relationship management, and Dropbox (39%) for storage and backup.
Apart from the advantages, I also came across some disagreements against cloud computing during my readings and search. One of the disadvantages of the use of cloud computing may be the risk of data theft, since there is no central supervising agency governing the use of the cloud for storage and services. Other than that, for individuals relying completely on the cloud service, it may get too costly.
In spite of a bunch of disadvantages and risks, cloud computing is a great addition to information technology. It has, undoubtedly, a huge potential to add up and facilitate the working of the industry. But at this stage, it will be premature to rely completely on it, unless near foolproof safety measures are made an essential part of it.