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Cloud Computing

Cloud computing and Traditional software

What is cloud computing?

Googling cloud computing provided me with the following definition – “Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet.” The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for Internet so what this means is that instead of applications and data living on your computer it moves to the Internet. A web application doesn’t run on your local machine but rather on a server or server farm that is connected to the Internet.

Why would you use it?

Well there are a few benefits to doing thing this way. Firstly the biggest benefit for me is the fact that you can access your data from anywhere with an Internet connection. I’m one of those people who are completely dependant on technology so I’m never very far from my data. By using cloud computing for things such as my email, spreadsheets etc., I can access my data from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

Secondly applications run remotely on a server or server farms and not on your local computer. What this means is that your computer will not be doing the processing involved in these applications, freeing your computer’s resources for other programs such as your browser or your music players.

The other benefit is you will never need to download updates for applications, which run on the cloud. When the vendor updates it on his server/s the next time you access your cloud application it will be updated. This leaves less space for viruses and malware to infiltrate your computer via applications, as vendors will be able to update their applications immediately as vulnerabilities are identified. Effectively increasing your security that much more.

What restrictions will there be on web applications?

Now you might wonder if there isn’t going to be restrictions on the programs that run over the Internet. Well currently there definitely are restrictions on cloud application. You will not be doing complex CAD drawing online yet but you will be surprised what you can already find online. Photoshop.com is an online application that allows you to do basic photo editing for free and it all happens quicker that Photoshop would run on most computers.

Google Docs allows you to edit your spreadsheets, Word documents and quite a few other document types. You are also able to save it online and access it from anywhere even from your Smartphone. The best of all is it’s completely free meaning that you can now do your document processing without even installing one application.

Online cloud applications include simple software such as the office software I mentioned above but extend to advanced applications such as project management, computer-aided design, video editing, point-of-sale and the list goes on.

The new HTML 5 standard, which was published as a working draft by W3C in January 2008, is set to revolutionize cloud computing even further by incorporating standards that will allow you to work on your cloud application while your offline. This means that even if you can’t find an Internet connection or if you find yourself without one temporarily, you will still be able to do your work.

Dangers of cloud computing

Recently Google announced that they had been a victim of a sophisticated hacking attack. In their statement they stated that intellectual property on their corporate network was compromised but that they believed their cloud-based customers data remained safe. For me this might be the case but it really exposes the dangers of cloud computing. If your data is stored in the cloud and it is compromised then you effectively run the risk of your data being stolen. If the mighty Google can suffer such an attach then why not others. Data security is still definitely a worrying factor when it comes to cloud computing.

For me the benefits still far outweighs the dangers so for now I will definitely be one of the cloud computing fan boys till I’m convinced otherwise. Hopefully the convincing won’t be the result of my data being stolen.


One comment for “Cloud computing and Traditional software”

  • http://topsy.com/tb/ow.ly/Wxut Tweets that mention Cloud computing and Traditional software | Chris Calitz — Topsy.com

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