Computing has come full circle. In the early days of mainframe computers, everyone interacted with large centralized mainframes through terminals. Wide area access to the huge computers was through long distance serial communications links, all hooked up to dumb terminals.
After that came the PC.
Everyone could now own their very own computer. People began to do cool things that once took millions of dollars. Businesses then wanted their employees to work together online, and client/server technology was born. Small companies, and departments of larger companies could now have their very own software applications using cheap servers. Client/server technology pushed computing capability out into the edge. Sun Microsystems said that “The Network was the Computer,” anyone remember that tag line?
Then came the internet.
Websites proliferated. People used simple software called browsers to access their applications which resided in the “cloud” somewhere. When more and more applications came about, their capabilities broadened. Soon people were able to do their everyday productivity stuff over the internet. Application providers needed some infrastructure that could cope with sudden surges in application usage.
Thus was born “cloud computing“.
Plain English Definition: Computer applications accessed over the Internet. Data and software are not stored on your computer, but rather on the “cloud” servers.
- Google Docs/MS Office Live
- Salesforce CRM
- Humyo (online storage)
- QuickBooks Online
What does it mean?
- Different cost structure: Monthly access fee vs one-time purchase
- Lower capital investment
- Where’s my data? Security and privacy concerns
- Greater opportunity for collaboration, team projects
- Virtual work environment (blur between work and home)
- Easier to sync information from different sources