Cloud Computing

What Is Cloud Computing?

Everyone is talking about it and most tech savvy people participate in some form of cloud computing everyday. But what is it? And how does it work?

Let's start with the cloud. The term "cloud" is simply a metaphor for the internet. Its name was derived from drawings used to represent the telephone network and later the internet in computer network drawings. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of software and information from a shared resource to computers and other devices over a network - usually the internet. Benefits include saving money on purchasing and maintaining software, hardware, infrastructure and a souped-up IT staff. That stuff is all handled by the provider of the service.

The cloud computing model works like that of a utility - you only pay for what you need.

Is this trend here to stay?

According to results from the fourth Future of the Internet online survey (which included 895 technology stakeholders and critics) "By 2020, most people won't do their work with software running on a general-purpose PC. Instead, they will work in Internet-based applications such as Google Docs, and in applications run from smartphones. Aspiring application developers will develop for smartphone vendors and companies that provide Internet-based applications, because most innovative work will be done in that domain, instead of designing applications that run on a PC operating system.1

I guess we'll find out in 2020.

1 Janna Quitney Anderson, Elon University and Lee Rainie, Pew Internet & American Life Project June 11, 2010