Computing paradigms have always evolved with advances in technology and breakthroughs in research. Keeping in line with Moore’s law, modern computers are powerful, robust and increasingly mobile. Simultaneously, connectivity and data network bandwidth has reached unforeseen capacity and all these factors combined have lead us to witness the meteoric rise of cloud computing.
Companies big and small, peg this de-centralized format to become the future of computing and have rolled out their own visions and versions of the same. Amazon has the its solid backend and WhisperNet, Apple users rely on the seamless integration of iCloud, Microsoft started off with Skydrive and is now evolving its offerings even further, Google launched Google Drive and then there are independent companies like DropBox all jostling to establish the main flag bearer of consumer facing cloud computing.
For professional requirements too, they are promoting hardware independent distributed solutions that can be accessed online instead of traditional on-premise systems. But what is it that makes cloud computing so popular to warrant this kind of attention and excitement from individuals and businesses?
Here are some of the most compelling reasons:
- True Flexibility: Every business has to deal with uncertainty in demand, and the solution is to achieve true flexibility. This is something the cloud excels at, letting businesses scale resources up or down on the fly. As a result, they are better able to respond to market forces and also utilize resources optimally. For individuals too, having their data available on the go from anywhere in the world is an empowering benefit.
- Reduced Maintenance: With cloud computing, people and organizations get access to the latest software and updates that are maintained by the vendor, leaving them free to focus on what they do best. For businesses, this means lesser focus on IT support staff and lower expenditure on equipment upgrades.
- Reduced Costs: Because of the economy of scale, cloud computing is able to deliver more bang for buck. That is, better performance at a fraction of the cost. This Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model lets companies purchase hardware resources and expand capabilities without having to spend too much to maintain or upgrade them regularly. Compatibility issues are also eliminated because a common backend is maintained by the vendors as a part of the support services.
For general consumers, most cloud services are available free in any case and they only need to pay for additional support or storage as per requirements.
- True Mobility: Cloud integrates perfectly with mobile and tablet devices, creating an agile and highly flexible network. As a result, individuals and businesses are able to work in real-time and access data and resources on the move. This directly leads to higher productivity and improved workflows.
- Convenient Backups: As a part of their services packages, many cloud computing vendors take periodic and automatic backups, so people or businesses don’t have to maintain storage servers or grapple with complicated storage architectures.
There are, of course, concerns about data security, privacy and constant connectivity but all vendors seem to be proactively focusing on making their cloud services as robust and secure as possible. Therefore, for many businesses and advocates the benefits seem to far outweigh the pit-falls. With an ever-increasing number of players in the market and top technology companies rolling out their cloud-based services for general consumers, cloud surely seems to be a keystone of the future of computing, both professional and personal.