Technology has seen a number of advances throughout the years which have improved many areas of life and business. And, the best is yet to come, as more technology companies and individuals research new ways to improve even the best on the market today. This is hard to imagine, but absolutely possible, especially in the minds of technology experts. One technology, called cloud computing is an innovative way for various resources, software and information are shared and provided to computers. Much like the electricity grid, this Internet based way of computing also provides other on-demand services.
Its predecessors, the mainframe and client-server of the 1980s provided a basis for how well cloud computing works today. The term cloud is a metaphor, and is based on the type of drawing that was used for the telephone network and computer network diagrams. Essentially, common business applications are used as a service over the Internet. These applications can be accessed from other web services, while at the same time the software and data are stored on servers. Most often, data centers are used because of their reliability for cloud computing infrastructure.
How It Compares to Similar Technology
There are many characteristics found in cloud computing that are similar to other forms of computing technology. However, one must not confuse it with the others. Some examples include:
• autonomic computing
• client-server model
• grid computing
• utility computing
There are many things which set cloud computing apart from others. For example, customers do not own the physical infrastructure. This reduces the overall cost for companies when considering capital expenditures. The companies only have to pay for the services used. This is very similar to the utility computing method, and different from the subscription based payment method that the other forms use.
This helps to increase the economic standing for companies, especially during a time when most profits are low. There is low management overhead, and companies have immediate access to numerous applications. Also, the contract can be terminated at any time, so the investment risk and uncertainty about performance is reduced. Of course, there might be financial penalties associated with an early contract termination, but still the overall expense is much less than having a different type of computing system.
In addition, some companies might have to pay more in operating expenses, even though they see savings in upfront capital expenditures. Therefore, if the capital expenses are relatively small, and there is flexibility, a company might want to reconsider the cloud model.