What is cloud computing and how do I use it?

Cloud computing has taken the IT world by storm, quickly making its way up the list of technology buzz words -- but what does the term really mean? And how will cloud computing change the way you manage and organize your digital information in the future?

(Relaxnews) -

Cloud computing has taken the IT world by storm, quickly making its way up the list of technology buzz words - but what does the term really mean? And how will cloud computing change the way you manage and organize your digital information in the future?

Cloud computing is essentially the management and provision of applications, information and data as a service. These services are provided over the internet, often on a consumption-based model.

Cloud computing provides a convenient way of accessing computing services, independent of the hardware you use or your physical location. It relieves the need to store information on your PC, mobile device or gadget with the assumption that the information can be quickly and easily accessed via the net. Cloud computing also negates the need to download or install dedicated software on your own computer, freeing up onboard memory and reducing energy costs.

You are probably already using cloud computing services without realizing it. Google is one of the most prominent companies offering software as a free online service to billions of users across the world. The internet giant hosts a set of online productivity tools and applications in the cloud such as email, word processing, calendars, photo sharing, and website creation tools.

Microsoft has also spent big bucks on cloud computing. In November 2009 the firm announced the availability of the Windows Azure platform - a consumption-based cloud computing service that provides web tools for businesses. Microsoft's Azure platform will bring the company closer to its "three screens and a cloud" vision.

On February 8, cloud computing company DiscCloud announced it was launching Flurry, the world's first-ever Mac OS X desktop cloud infrastructure. Flurry facilitates the instant delivery of content and applications to Mac users via the internet; it enables them to listen to their entire iTunes Library or run iWork (Apple's word processing suite) from the cloud.

Major corporations including Amazon, IBM, Sun, Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel, Novell and Oracle have also invested in cloud computing and are now offering individuals and businesses a range of cloud-based solutions.

Every day new start-ups are popping up offering their clients easier, better, faster and more secure options for cloud computing.

Analysts have indicated that future technology leaders will gravitate to cloud-based models as a way to deploy software and to store content. IT research analyst Gartner listed Cloud Computing as a key Strategic Technology Area for 2010 in its report on the top IT trends to watch in 2010.

In January 2010 ABI Research estimated that more than 240 million business customers will be using cloud computing services on mobile devices by 2015.

The trend points to PCs becoming a gateway into the cloud - removing the need for onboard storage and freeing consumers to leap from one device to another depending on their needs.

Consumers will no longer have to download and install memory-hogging applications and software on their device and will instead be able to access everything they need via a powerful internet browser. With this model, the majority of computing software will be rented on an as-needed basis instead of being bought as an expensive one-off purchase.

The main drawbacks to a system that is predominantly hosted in the cloud are issues of information security and the possibility of internet outages. Security concerns were cited as the primary reason why organizations were not currently making the transition into the cloud in a November 25, 2009 study on IT security issues published by Launchpad Europe.

The European Union's report on the future of cloud computing: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/ssai/docs/cloud-report-final.pdf

A list of the top 150 players in cloud computing can be found on the Cloud Computing Journal website: http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/770174

Launchpad Europe's IT Security Index 2009 report: http://www.launchpad-europe.com/images/PR07LPDE-ITSecurityintheCloudFV.pdf

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SQL DBA (2005/2008/2012, projects, storage requirements)

    £45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

    Senior Java Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Leading Sof...

    SAP Finance Systems Analyst

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a PE...

    Solutions Consultant / Project Manager / Business Analyst

    £45 - 60k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultant (Big Data / IT ...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried