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Cloud Computing: A Simple Explanation


A lot of people ask me to give a simple explanation regarding the term Cloud Computing. The reason why you read quite a lot about Cloud Computing is that IT companies are hyping this term as the next big thing since the invention of the light bulb.

Cloud Computing is computation, software, data access and storage services that don’t need end-user knowledge of the particular physical location and configuration of the system that delivers the services. You can actually compare it with the electrical power grid, you don’t require the specialized knowledge to use it. Just plug in the device and you will be ready to go!

The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on the cloud drawing used to represent the Internet in computer network diagrams.The concept isn’t new and has been around for decades. Years ago the IT companies tried to market this concept already but this wasn’t a success. The reason for this was that you needed a fast and reliable Internet connection, and at the time if they were available, they came at a hefty price.

Nowadays almost everyone has access to the internet via a fast broadband connection. This removes the bandwidth problem and information is sent at a lightning fast speed around the globe. Almost all companies use fast Internet connections, because the Internet is used in a big part of their business and prices for connections have dropped significantly.

An example of a Cloud based service is Google’s Gmail. You can sign up to an account and send e-mail to colleagues or friends around the globe, without having any sort of technical knowledge of the way that e-mail works. Google has all the specialized expertise and networking infrastructure to manage the e-mail traffic. The benefit is that you don’t lose valuable time on the technical stuff and enables you to focus on your business!

The introduction flat fee Internet and the Smartphone like the iPhone or Android phones in combination with mobile Internet plans, caused a fast adaptation of Cloud technology.

If you want to have a location independent business, Cloud Computing is the way to go! Instead of running applications locally on your computer and store data your self, they run on a shared data center maintained by the best industry experts. For example, you can configure your Smartphone to connect to your favorite e-mail Cloud service and carry your e-mail with you wherever you go. Your e-mail is stored in the Cloud and you can access it on your Smartphone or any computer, no data is stored on the device itself. Because you can “plug in everywhere”, this has several advantages for you:

  • You are able to access all programs as well as data using your browser.
  • You can get started very quickly
  • The costs are much less when compared to conventional software programs
  • You don’t need to have your own servers and storage
  • No software set up necessary
  • You don’t have to update your software programs
  • No specialized knowledge required
  • The service is often at no cost or via predictable regular monthly subscription

Some popular cloud services are:

  • Gmail
  • Hotmail
  • Facebook
  • Amazon EC2/S3
  • Salesforce.com
  • for gamers there are Sony’s PlayStation Network or Microsoft’s Xbox Live.

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