Technology Radar Shows Signs of Clouds
The term Cloud Computing isn't anything new. Since being introduced in 2006 by then Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the term has faded in and out of popularity. The idea of using an offsite server to store data and applications that can be accessed through an Internet connection instead of using your company's network was a great idea. So why didn't it catch on like wildfire? Perhaps it has, and we just didn't notice.
Cloud computing is, simply put, a way to access stored data or applications through an Internet connection instead of accessing them from your local server or hard drive. When broken into these simple terms, you may start to realize how tied to the cloud you really are. 'You are probably already using cloud computing services without realizing it. Google is one of the most prominent companies offering software as a free online service to billions of users across the world' says Relax News in a recent article for The Independent.
So far the cloud has found most of its success in the lives of the general public, even though most people don't even realize its impact or even its existence. And now with the upcoming fall release of Apple's first version of the iCloud, the term is starting to gain a little more buzz again. The product carries the cloud name and is focused on and packaged for consumers who are looking for an easy way to manage their media between their Apple devices and eventually will be able to access their media from anywhere.
Here are some of the ways you probably touch the cloud on a daily basis:
- Salesforce.com or another web-based CRM
- VoIP services such as Skype or Google Voice
- Social networking: Twitter, Facebook
- Online media: Flickr, YouTube
- Google Docs and Calendar
- Web based email: Gmail, Yahoo
The benefits of cloud computing have been touted ranging from cost savings by outsourcing IT responsibilities to the freedom of being able to work remotely as if you were in the office. However, many businesses still choose to keep their in-house servers because the unknown risk of the cloud still overshadows the benefits. Companies are concerned about privacy issues and security threats and they don't feel comfortable giving up even a fraction of control over their proprietary information. While some businesses may not have adapted all of their resources to the cloud, it has still become an integral part of their operations. The tools that are used for daily operations such as customer relationship management applications or content management systems are often web-based applications and storage tools that operate in the cloud.
The future of cloud computing seems mostly sunny. As the technology has been adapted and utilized, more people and businesses are becoming comfortable putting cloud computing on the upswing. Relax News also stated in their article that 'The trend points to PCs becoming a gateway into the cloud - removing the need for onboard storage and freeing consumers to leap from one device to another depending on their needs.' In 2010, 76% of businesses in the United States had a little less than a quarter of their infrastructure in the cloud. This number is expected to increase dramatically through 2011, almost tripling from its 2010 standing.
'The cloud offers organizations the convenience of not having to buy their own kit. If the organization wants to start a new project in a month's time, then cloud computing gives them the kit to run it,' says Anthony Miller, managing partner at analyst house TechMarketView. With the financial considerations businesses now face due to the turbulence in the economy, everyone is looking for a way to pinch pennies. Miller believes that companies will be drawn to the idea of only paying for the space they need and the cost savings of outsourcing some of their IT work. So while cloud computing might not be the latest technology, it has appeared back on the radar.