Cloud computing for the common man

1. Traditionally computer at home for the aam aadmi meant buying a computer and installing Operating system such as windows, and on being told that more software were needed for writing letters, creating spreadsheets, etc, he would go ahead and install them. In the last decade, browsing the internet was added, resulting in additional recurring cost.

2. This has been the story for many years. With the advent of cloud computing computer adaption for the common man (aam admi in India and joe the plumber in USA) has remained same on the outside. However, many changes have come without the common man noticing. If you have used email then cloud computing has crawled into your life. Let me give you more examples.

3. Unknown to the end user, a quiet change has been happening. Companies offering software which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, have created software services and tools which are now offered as cloud offerings.

4.Let me give you a situation which you may have come across. If you have attempted to save a contact in an Android phone, you might have experienced being asked whether you want to Save a contact on the phone or Google. This means Cloud has entered into your life or ready to enter. If you choose Google, data is saved on a cloud server under your account name.

Using Gmail or Hotmail is another example. Do you know where all those messages you send and receive are stored. Email is an example of Software as a service (Saas).
5. Facebook is another example of Cloud. All those posts, pics, movies and comments and likes - do you know where Facebook stores them? It is on large datacenters located in different places around the world.

6. Software giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have been storing and running their applications in Datacenters, which are large computer systems with thousands of servers and huge storage capabilities.

7. When one hears of 'Cloud Computing' - the first thought is 'what? one more of those confusing IT phrases?' Cloud and Computing, the words and the phrase adds confusion to the already confusing collection of words and phrases in the IT Industry. Cloud computing simply means the computing process is not on your desktop nor in your office server but in a Datacenter located far away (in most cases).

8. What does 'Cloud Computing' mean for the common man in terms of money. As of now not much, however, one may have to pay for using softwares such as MSOffice, maybe even Windows. Note that, for the near future, your existing software will remain as it is and can be used. Who will eventually pay for using cloud apps? A good question to ask, considering facebook, gmail and pinterest are free. They will stay free as a business built on one model will find it difficult to move to a paid model easily.

However, in the years to come using software may move to a paid model.

9. Is this technology growing very fast. You bet. Vendors are not only ramping up their operations, adaption is widespread. Sensing the rapid growth happening many vendors have climbed onto this bandwagon. The first explorers were VMWare, and Amazon. Microsoft is a late or rather a slow climber but has a good offering now. Google is right there with a large base of enthusiasts.

10. You may want to know how did this all start? Universities in USA, used to be networked by large mainframe computers. To optimize resources they start sharing resources such as computing power and storage. Sharing of compute power was called time sharing as there was no other way to measure it on an ongoing basis. This has grown into what is now called Cloud Computing which includes not just compute power but, much more than that. Notice how American Universities are the places where successful projects take off - Facebook, MS, to name a few.

11. What will be the future. There are many revolutionary changes which are expected in the coming years. Your smartphone will use much of its software which is residing on the cloud making it a powerful tool in your hands. This means a lot. Games, utility apps, can be used on your smartphone running on the cloud.

12. Should I have internet connectivity for running cloud applications. Yes.

13. What will make Cloud more ubiquitous? If users start saving data on the cloud datacenters and use apps which are hosted on the cloud without the fear of loss of data or stealing of data, then cloud will really take off. 14. Suppose you were working in a company. As is common these days you may have a computer for yourself which you use it to write letters, email your business colleagues, and of course browse the net, and update the ERP which tracks your work and all of your colleagues work. But, unknown to you, your computer may have been made a part of a hybrid cloud network on which your data being stored and applications are running.

15. When your office network is on the cloud, remember, your cloud administrator can easily track all your activities, and if desired data residing can be accessed and deleted.

16. Should you support your company's move to a cloud environment. Certainly. Moving your company's IT infrastructure results in many benefits and in all probability make you more effective in your work.

17. If you are a travelling professional, a cloud based office network (particularly a hybrid cloud) will go a long way in making it easier for you to work from wherever you are without additional costs, software or infrastructure. For instance, you could discuss, change your plans, get feedback instantenously.

18. Is there any other benefit of Cloud? To put it one word - scaling or scale. Suppose you were in a project collecting all the photos in the world. As your data size increases, cloud vendors will allow you to increase your disk size by adding racks - Seamless scaling. This can be done instantaneously. And this feature alone is drawing hundreds of companies (both tiny and small and of course the biggies) to the cloud.