Cloud ComputingMay 18, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Internet, Online services, Software, Web Apps | 2 Comments
Cloud Computing is about being connected and having your files available anywhere, anytime. With various web applications out there, this has become completely possible already. I spoke about this last summer with USB based apps on Office Anywhere, for example
The term Cloud is due to the Internet being depicted on most networking diagrams as a cloud. In other words, Internet based computing. This is a very different model to buying software to install on your local computer. Cloud computing broadly means web applications. Webmail is a great example. Files may be stored server side or on your local computer but they are available either way. It means you can get to your files with a phone, PDA, laptop, friends computer, whatever.
Some vendors clearly see it as a way you might “rent” thier apps. Rather than buying it in a store and installing it, you just sign up and log in. Backup, upgrades, and all that are handled for you. This could be much cheaper for the average user, but may mean an ongoing expense. And a potentially great expense over time. Some surprising applications have been moving to the web, like Adobe’s PhotoShop.
There are issues to recognize, like if you store your files online, are they secure and are they backed up? I’d still prefer local storage synced online. That gives you anywhere access and basic backup at the same time. And you’re covered if your supplier goes down. Whats the most cost effective solution? Professionals will likely still favour locally installed for key applications to ensure they can get their work done, whatever the Internet may be doing.
Goggle Docs program is an interesting player as its free, if modest. Its available online anywhere but can be installed on your computer for offline work. When the offline app connects, it will automatically sync files. Evidently, they plan similar with the other apps in Google’s nest.
Cloud Computing is a great concept and I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve. Further integration and simplicity would make it much more accessible. Hopefully the big players will stick with standards so we can pick and choose the best aspects. And computing wil become increasingly cost effective.
With applications available online in any standard web browser, you may no longer be tied to a specific browser or operating system. Linux may become a valid choice for users if all they have to do is open a browser and click on favorites.