What is Cloud Computing and How Can You Benefit From It?

There is a lot of talk about cloud computing. In some cases it is just another term for the Internet. In other cases it refers to a distant location where users can store their local files; a backup storage site. But cloud computing is a new way of processing information that has not been seen before.

Old Network Computing

The origins of cloud computing are in networking. At the core of networking is the client-server model. This is where a central program runs at the server level(a central computer) but processes the operations at the client level. This provides network distribution, and a quicker operation.

For example, take an accounting program that is stored at a central location, but the data that needs to be processed is on the client machine; the client machine being a local PC. The server can run dozens of client operations by directing them to the local PC, and the final results are stored on a central server.

The rise of network operations made processing large amounts of data possible; this was in addition to more powerful CPU’s, more memory on the PC’s, and more sophisticated software. Networks can be global, and not even touch the Internet.

Enter the Cloud

The “cloud” in one sense is just the Internet. That means that you can access information from any website. But the difference is that there is a dedication to the process, not the random operation of the Internet. In other words, cloud computing focuses on having a dedicated location that will allow users to store files, but also to run client server operations, where the server will be remotely located, and the connection will be via the Internet. These dedicated locations are data centers.

Benefits of Cloud Operations

Anyone involved in enterprise computing will tell you how costly it can be. You have hardware and software costs. There are maintenance and upkeep costs. Users often need to operate new software or upgrades and training is frequently necessary. So staying in tune with the latest hardware and software changes may be too prohibitive and companies pass on those upgrades, waiting for “next year” to come along.

However, cloud operations can make the changes feasible and less expensive. The hardware, to begin with, is located at the datacenter site. Upgrades to operating systems and software are done by the datacenter IT personnel. Local IT managers do not need to get involved with the upgrades. Training may still be necessary on software but the costs will be affordable because other hardware and software costs do not exist any longer.

Backup Operations

Data backup is also a benefit. Now, IT administrators can immediately address one of the central features of disaster prevention and recovery protection.

Disaster prevention and recovery is part of a plan to manage the company data and provide an adequate solution in the event of a disaster, say a tornado or fire. The cloud’s datacenter can store the enterprise data away from the company location and make it available if a recovery is necessary. Daily or weekly backups, just for that purpose, can take place automatically. This means that IT administrator will not have to worry about the data not taking place or not having enough disk or tape space to complete the backup.

Benefits for Consumers
The benefits for enterprises are far reaching. There are benefits as well for consumers. Storing files at the cloud datacenter can prevent loss of data. What’s more, the data is available from anywhere. If a consumer is away from home they can still access the data. If they have a cloud-based executable program like Microsoft’s Office Cloud 365, which provides Excel, or Access, or Word, users can process their data and save it locally or on the datacenter. Other companies also have different applications that can operate on the cloud, so consumers only have to enroll in the system, but not make a separate purchase of the products.

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