What is cloud computing?
Today’s post is a guest post by Rens.
What is cloud computing?
Let’s say you are the owner of a company. Your responsibilities include ensuring that all your employees have the right computers and software. You’ll need to buy the right software for all of them to make sure they can do their job properly. You can purchase and install all the software onto their computers but there is also another alternative, in which you only have to install one application. That program allows your employees to log into a web-based service that suffices for all the programs your worker needs. Another company hosts these programs and ensures that applications like word, email and a large variety of other programs run smoothly. This is called cloud computing.
With cloud computing the local computers do not have to run installed applications but the network of PC’s handle that instead. On the user’s side software and hardware demands decrease. You’ll only need a computer with the cloud’s software interface and the rest of the work is done by the cloud’s network.
If you have an email account then you’ve already had experience with cloud computing. Services like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail run in that way. With these web based programs you only need to log in and the storage and software is not on your computer but in the ‘cloud’.
The front and the back end
A cloud computing system comprises of the front and the back end, which are connected with each other through the internet. The front end is what you see on your computer and the back is the cloud part of the system. Yet some cloud systems have different interfaces to others. For instance, an email program can work on internet Explorer while other systems can have unique applications that provide network access to clients.
The cloud can be found on the other side of the system and consists of various servers, computers and storage systems. Theoretically any computer program can be included in a cloud system and each application has its own server. The central server monitors traffic, client demands and administers the system to make sure everything keeps running. It uses middleware, which is a type of software, and follows a set of rules. The middleware permits computers that are in the same network to communicate with each other.
What are the advantages of cloud computing?
There are an almost limitless amount of cloud computing applications. You are able to work with all the programs a normal computer could run if you have the right middleware. Therefore customised programs specifically designed for a company can be run on the cloud but, for instance, also a regular word processing software. Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of cloud computing:
Users are able to access data and applications at any time from any location. The only thing you’ll need is a computer and an internet connection. In this way data is not restricted to only one hard drive on a computer.
Hardware costs can be reduced because the cloud will take care of most of the work. You don’t need to buy an expensive, high-tech computer. A computer terminal that has enough power to run the middleware is enough. A large hard drive is not necessary as you can store your data on the cloud. Also software costs will decrease as employees will no longer have need for it. Instead, you pay a fee to the cloud company making cloud computing an attractive way to save money.
Rens works for Intralinks, a leading virtual data room provider.