What is Cloud computing?

There’s a lot of talk about cloud computing these days yet how many people actually know what it’s used for and what it’s benefits are? cloud computing is more of a service than a product, in it’s most basic form it’s really just a secure data centre for you to store all your important files and pictures. Cloud computing also gives people the chance to share resources easily like information, software and game saves. These are all examples of what can be saved and easily accessed in the “Cloud” anywhere in the world, providing you have the use of a computer connected to the world wide web. Cloud computing can also be an ideal way of offering more technical services such as web based interactive voice response, automatic call distribution and televoting.

Cloud computing was first thought about all the way back in the 1950s when the scientist Herb Grosch envisioned a world that would use dumb terminals along with several large data centres. A few decades later and it was Amazon who were one of the early forerunners in cloud computing when they updated their data centres in 2006 developing the Amazon Web Service, or AWS for short. Just a few short years later in 2008 Eucalyptus announced OpenNebula, this was to be the first open source AWS platform which enabled companies to easily deploy their own private or hybrid clouds.

So what are the pros and cons of using the cloud? Disaster recovery is a major benefit of storing your data remotely, if you have a fire or a flood and your computers in five foot of water at least you’re safe in the knowledge your important data is still ok. Another advantage that appeals to a lot of people is being able to access your files from anywhere in the world, however this could also be its downfall because if you don’t have any internet then you obviously don’t have access to your data either.

Finally a quick word of warning, there’s some concern being voiced over the security aspect of certain cloud based businesses. This will only become more pronounced as time goes by and a whole new influx of cloud companies emerge, just make sure you invest some time and research into your cloud supplier before trusting them with your data. You wouldn’t want all your important files to disappear when the company you’ve entrusted them with suddenly goes bump!

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