Cloud computing is a new term trending in the world of internet technology. There are conflicting reports as to who first coined the phrase. Some indicate it was back in 2001 by New York Times contributor, John Markoff, when he used the phrase "cloud of computers" in an article about Microsoft's Hailstorm. Most seem to give the credit to Eric Schmidt of Google, who used the complete term, "Cloud Computing", in reference to SaaS in August 2006. There have been a few who have tried to trademark the phrase, including Dell. However, Dell's bid to own "Cloud Computing" was quickly rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Cloud computing is otherwise known as a paradigm shift, defined as a set of forms all of which contain a particular element, especially the set of all inflected forms based on a single stem or theme. The shift here being that of the Mainframe to the Client Server and then on to Cloud Computing. The cloud metaphor stems from a drawing meant to illustrate the relationship between the Internet and a network of computers. The cloud works by accessing the business applications using a web browser and storing the actual data on servers.
There are many benefits to the Cloud environment. Initially, it eliminates the need for traditional software, and the costs associated with the purchasing and implementation of these programs. Ultimately, the capital expenditures budget transfers to operating costs primarily because the initial outlay of funds is replaced with a subscription based expense. Consumers are finding more pricing options available, especially since they are only paying for services required, rather than entire systems that may only be partially utilized.
Reportedly, the transition from antiquated server systems to the Cloud is fairly quick and simple, requiring fewer in-house IT skills. In some cases, a cloud may be multi-tenant where costs and resources are shared by several entities. Cloud is scalable and eliminates bottlenecks resulting from peak load issues.
The Cloud environment also affords a greater independence in accessibility, not only on a PC but also in the ever growing mobile browsing community. Reliability is a key factor in cloud's success, offering enhanced continuity and disaster recovery. Maintenance and support are improved because the global environment affords instant updates, and support solutions that do not need to be placed or adjusted on multiple workstations.
Cloud security has raised a few eyebrows in recent months, especially where sensitive data is concerned. Medical practices subject to HIPAA regulations, for example, question the security risks involved in this web-only platform. Contrarily, some argue that security here is equal to or surpasses the security of server-based systems for two reasons. First, data spread out over a greater area is better secured and more difficult to fraudulently access. Second, the costs saved have been spent in creating solutions to the common security problems of the past.
PT Barnum said, "Every cloud has a silver lining." MK Ash said, "Every silver lining has a cloud." Love it or loathe it, cloud computing is another step in the unstoppable progress of technology. In my opinion, it is cheaper and cleaner, quicker and easier, safer and stronger. It is for the reader, however, to make up his or her own mind on the subject.