By Ethan Alfonso // Apex High AOIT – Class of 2017
Among recent years in the IT community, the term “cloud computing” has become understood as somewhat nebulous jargon for any who aren’t at a base awareness to it. Wherever the misconceptions arise, the term describes a practice that at base is something everyone either is aware of or actively participating in.
While cloud computing does have a base idea behind it, the edges that define it can become blurred depending who is describing it and for what purpose. The original definition can be settled around something in the range of “utilizing off-location computer servers to use computer services”. The vagueness of using such services is all of what gives cloud computing so much potential, wariness and confusion at once.
To give a scenario, say a small-scale shipper requires a software and communication aspect, and rather than investing in a costly on-site server, invests in cloud computing. Once a cloud service contractor has facilities set up to use and contracts with big customers, they can potentially act as a surrogate for any computing needs of the customer. This is sometimes constituted with a basic infrastructure for a client, allowing them to have a professional/efficient/reliable/etc. interface without requiring to know all of the in’s and out’s of building a server or paying an on-site engineer to handle such things. This form is the most basic type of cloud partitioning, and is referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Some more complex variations of this service allow entire applications to be run by consumers remotely. As a result, consumers require less processing power at a workstation or personal desktop, and therefore can share or allocate that among the cloud. This second type, which builds upon IaaS is called Platform as a Service (PaaS). Data as a Service (DaaS) follows the pattern, but rather than the problem of running applications locally, deals with data storage. This availability of storage lets the consumer not worry about over-allocating memory, and possibly eliminates any need for a set database. The final utilization of cloud computing is Software as a Service (SaaS), where entire applications, interfaces and memory stores can be made available to the client in a matter of hours on subscription basis. Such service can be useful at lowering cost as a response to other contemporary software developers may need hefty requirements on the basis of being a permanent download.
The advantages of cloud computing over its precursor techniques are many. The fluidity provided by allocatable computing lets each client have their own chunk of a server that can change based on individual needs. This leads to more flexible payment options like subscriptions and pay-as-you-go computing. Other advantages include reduced costs, shorter setup times for the clientele and even an increase in size of software markets.
With these pros come some disadvantages as well, that many a remorseful buyer is wary of. Not all cloud providers are equal, nor are the contracts they employ to businesses and personal consumers. Some may overcharge or inflate prices, along the vein of cable companies before them, and others may simply have unreliable services to boot. This can often be accompanied with bad awareness and training in the work force, meaning one untrained user can build a steep debt and an untrained team can build a mountain.
A lot of information about cloud computing has surged in recent years, making it unclear whether not it is perhaps a fad or one more term which the average computer worker has to shove under the jargon rug. It may seem like a small move forward, but cloud computing is already becoming the next frontier in the IT world, and it requires ready, careful steps to ensure its best use. -Ethan Alfonso
1. Hassan, Qusay (2011). “Demystifying Cloud Computing”(PDF). The Journal of Defense Software Engineering. CrossTalk. 2011 (Jan/Feb): 16–21. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
2. “Gartner Says Cloud Computing Will Be As Influential As E-business”. Gartner. Retrieved 2016-10-17