A few years ago, not many people understood the meaning of the term “cloud computing.” In fact, an August 2012 survey by the IT solutions company Citrix indicates that many still have trouble grasping the meaning of the phrase, with almost 30% of respondents declaring that cloud computing and the Earth’s weather are related. At the same time, Citrix’s survey also demonstrates that people’s inability to understand the term “cloud computing” has in no way prevented them from using the technology, as 97% reported using it in the form of online banking, file sharing, and social networking. Unfortunately, advances in cloud computing technology may eventually make these statistics irrelevant. By the time a majority of people understand what “cloud computing” means, the technology may have already evolved into something completely different!
For many, the trouble with comprehending cloud computing is that so many of them are currently using it—and have been for years—without realizing it. At its most basic, the term refers to computing resources that can be accessed and utilized over a network (usually the Internet). Cloud computing also has several characteristics that distinguish it from normal web-based solutions and services. First, cloud computing has a scalable architecture, which means that hosting providers only have to connect new hardware to a cloud-based system to add users, processing power, and storage capacity. Second, the cloud supports multi-tenancy, which allows multiple IT solutions to share the resources of an individual server. Third, the cloud can be provisioned on an on-demand, per-use basis, letting businesses set up temporary clouds and be billed for an exact amount of processing or storage.
The benefits of cloud computing include lowered costs and higher performance and availability. Businesses with a cloud-based IT infrastructure do not have to spend on any additional on-site hardware or personnel. Usually, they only have to pay a third-party hosting provider a small monthly fee. The hosting provider keeps its expenses low with multi-tenant servers and by distributing operating costs among multiple customers(a luxury not available to in-house IT departments). These hosting firms also provide better security and management than on-site personnel because of their ability to afford high-level IT personnel and top-of-the-line automation software. In addition, businesses get superior flexibility from cloud computing because these systems can be quickly and easily designed, built, resized, and relocated.
Looking beyond the present benefits of cloud computing to its future potential, businesses can expect cloud-related advancements such as:
Big Data –The scalable resources of cloud computing will let businesses quickly analyze huge amounts of data at an attainable cost.
Internet of Things – Objects such as cars, merchandise, and prescription drug bottles will be connected to the Internet in the future. The cloud’s role will be to process, store, and transfer all of this data.
Hybrid clouds – Rather than choosing one deployment method or the other, businesses will opt to host a portion of their files and applications on-site, and a different portion of their infrastructure in the cloud.
In short, the future of cloud computing will result in even more improvements in cost, performance, choice, availability, and connectivity.
DeskPointe is a leading provider of cloud-based solutions and services. Its offerings include hosted applications, hosted virtual desktops, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). To learn more about DeskPointe, visit their website at http://www.hosteddesktopprovider.com.