What is cloud computing?

16th August 2011

What is cloud computing? We’re hearing the term everywhere, but what does it really mean? And how is it going to revolutionise business?

Firstly what is Cloud computing? It’s an umbrella term for a number of different trends. All involving the internet and its potential to simplify the way we use computers and expand their capabilities. The “cloud” is the internet, and the term is fitting – it’s large, out there somewhere and fuzzy at the edges. Cloud computing is about putting more of your material out there and less on PCs or servers that your business runs for itself.

It comes into use when you need a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription based or pay per use service that in real time over the internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities.

It is still at an early stage with a few providers, large and small, delivering cloud – based services ranging from full blown applications to storage services to spam filtering. There are various types of cloud computing offerings and here are a few typical examples:
• SaaS (Software as a service)

This delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers. This means that for the customer there is no upfront investment in servers or licensing and for the provider, with just one application to maintain, operational and support costs are low.
• Utility Computing

This form of cloud computing is where some big names like Amazon.com, Sun and IBM offer storage and virtual servers that IT can access on demand. Typically this is being used for supplemental, non-mission critical needs at the moment but one day may replace all or part of many organisations’ data centres.

• MSP (managed service providers)

This service is basically an application exposed to IT rather than end-users such as a virus scanning service for email or an application monitoring service.

At 3Squared we’ve been utilising Cloud Computing for our bespoke application development customers in instances where scalable hosting is required. Contact us now if you’d like to discuss your software development project requirements.