Cloud computing is a relatively new concept that can seem a bit mysterious to those outside the industry. The term ‘cloud’ throws a lot of people off–is it in the sky? A literal cloud with our data floating somewhere in it?
You might have heard someone ask a question like this, or maybe you’ve wondered yourself. Cloud computing is only growing in popularity and influence, so we put together the basics you need to know about cloud computing to be successful in your business.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing- The act of storing and accessing data through the internet rather than your computer’s hard drive; the remote storage and access of data
In other words, the term ‘the cloud’ is just another way to describe the internet. Cloud computing has nothing to do with your hard drive. That’s called local computing, and it doesn’t get stored in the cloud.
Local computing- The act of storing and accessing data through your computer’s hard drive; the local storage and access of data
For decades, local computing is how we stored and accessed information. Only recently has cloud computing become the booming industry it is today. Cloud computing doesn’t involve data stored on your computer’s hard drive, so what does it involve? Data or programs must be accessed via the internet to be considered cloud computing. At the least, the data must be synchronized with information on the internet to be considered cloud computing.
Business in the cloud
Cloud computing is a booming industry. The market generated nearly $100 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach $106 billion this year. Projections say that number could reach $270 billion by 2020.
In the cloud computing business, companies choose to implement one of the following services:
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
- PaaS (Platform as a Service)
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
SaaS businesses provide software as a service, such as SalesForce.com. PaaS (Platform as a Service) businesses provide platforms as a service, such as Google App Engine and Windows Azure. Finally, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) rent their infrastructure to smaller companies. Examples include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, and Microsoft Azure.
Email, music, documents, calendars, apps, photos, videos, and data storage and backup can all be accessed and managed through cloud computing. Before, using local computing, you were limited to accessing only the data stored on your computer’s hard drive. Cloud computing makes it possible to access your data from any computer with an internet connection.
What excites you about the future of cloud computing?