Cloud computing is the new buzz-word for today’s technophiles. As a matter of fact, multi-national corporations like Oracle and Microsoft and educational institutions like the Yale and the University of Melbourne have allocated a significant amount of resources towards the development of this new technology. However, all the excitement for this “next big thing” often leaves the average person asking, “Why all the fuss?”
A large number of articles have already discussed what cloud computing is all about. However, most of existent cloud-related literature are chock full of jargon and extremely technical language. Thus, in this article, let me explain to you — in simple, easy-to-understand terms — the three major advantages of this up-and-coming (and very promising) technology.
The Status Quo:
Today’s typical IT network can best be described as a group of computers, each with their own complete sets of software and hardware, each capable of functioning on their own. Moreover, this description holds true for both large companies (a corporate intranet) and individual consumers (the typical home-based network). Unfortunately, this type of setup poses one critical challenge: an inefficient allocation of computing resources.
Let’s cite a concrete example.
Suppose a person needs to use a program that requires a lot of computing power. The best that he can do is to use the most powerful computer in the network, but given the breakneck pace of today’s technology, even the most powerful computer may not be enough. Moreover (and obviously), he cannot feasibly combine the computing power of two desktops to run the same program.
Cloud computing solves this problem, and more.
 Improved resource allocation and performance
With cloud computing, however, all computational resources are centralized, so that any end-user can get as much computing power as he needs. This is possible because the personal computer as we know it will be reduced to a device that sends, receives, and displays data, while the “central cloud” of powerful computers does all the processing.
 Reduced hardware costs
Cloud computing allows personal computers to perform better even with relatively simple components with minimal processing power. Thus, each computer terminal will come at a drastically reduced cost. Moreover, end-users will seldom need to upgrade computers at all because all the upgrading is done in the cloud.
 Faster Updates and Maintenance
A common problem for many people is the time it takes to perform maintenance or roll out upgrades on a large number of computers in a large number of sites. However, with this new technology, all the information will be saved in a central location. Thus, computer engineers and other IT staff can save a lot of time because they only have to upgrade a small number of units, and everything else in the network follows suit.
Cloud computing is a very promising breakthrough in the world of computing. It can dramatically streamline processes that were otherwise too tedious, if not impossible, to do. What’s more, with the potentially lower acquisition and maintenance costs, information technology will become accessible for a larger section of the population.