Cloud computing is not new, it’s still developing, but it’s certainly nothing new. It’s been around for a little while now and is becoming a powerful tool for companies that need more capacity, but don’t want to manage more resources.
The reason it’s called “cloud” computing is because “the cloud” encompasses many different forms of computing that can be made into a service. Some of these include networks, interfaces, hardware, and storage capacities. You can think of it like companies are just hiring an external company to manage some of their IT related services. As you can imagine, this can save a lot of time and money, especially for large operations.
Companies appreciate cloud computing because it provides the ability to be flexible, and because it provides several options that are scalable, depending on the needs of the company.
Some of the characteristics of cloud computing include:
- Customers only have to pay for what they end up using. Additionally, the purchasing of servers is not required, which can save a lot of money and resources.
- Automatic allocation and de-allocation is possible with cloud computing. Things like allocating storage and bandwidth. Many companies like this because it allows them to quickly allocate additional resources when needed, but don’t have to pay for them when they don’t need them. A good example of this is with online stores that need the server capacity to handle large spikes of traffic during certain times, but don’t always need such capacity.
- Infrastructure costs are significantly reduced because the cloud lowers dependency on resources such as buildings, electricity, etc.
One common question many companies ask is whether or not cloud computing is really a secure solution. As mentioned above, there is still a lot of development to be made with this technology, meaning it is not a completely secure solution at this point. If you do some research on various cloud computing blogs you may see conflicting opinions on this matter, but overall, most any virtualization technologies will have some security issues.
One example of where cloud computing can lack is if the service provider has to shut down their business. While this might not be that big of an issue for some, for companies that have large amounts of data stored on the cloud could run into issues retrieving it all before the company goes out of business.
Cloud computing is made possible because of virtualization and it’s not something that will just go away. It’s an amazing technological advancement and will only continue to improve.
To learn more about cloud computing, and other topics like creating secure virtual machines, please visit The Virtualization Practice.