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Cloud Computing

One of the leading information technology research companies in business today is Gartner, Inc.  They describe Cloud Computing as, “a style of computing in which massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ using Internet technologies to multiple external customers.”   Back in 2009, in an article for Network World, Jon Brodkin added that, “clouds are marked by self-service interfaces that let customers acquire resources at any time and get rid of them the instant they are no longer needed.”

Since then Cloud Computing has become a highly marketed buzz word to describe the trend from self-contained websites to transparent web services, hence the “cloud” nomenclature.  The cloud is not really any type of technology, or tangible devise, but rather an expanding approach to harnessing the networking capabilities of the world-wide web. 

With the explosion of social and now business networking “sites”, like Facebook and LinkedIn online computing began to require increasing storage and interaction capabilities.  In response, large corporations began “renting” servers in their existing server farms, and started building massive, highly secure data centers designed to withstand all types of natural disasters.  But, thousands of other entrepreneurs followed suit with less durable solutions as well. 

Cloud Computing has become attractive to various enterprises for a number of reasons.  One of the most quoted is the ability to employ huge amounts of data and computing software without the cost of buying it all.  Another big attraction is high mobility.  Data and infrastructure is managed by someone else, so access and manipulation is possible from any location that has an internet connection.

In order to enable high redundancy (back up) and operational speed data is spread out across many servers, instead of up within bigger servers.  New storage technology, such as No SQL is being continually developed to meet the approaches and capabilities.  There is increasing reference to dynamic “Web Services” replacing traditional, static Websites.  Companies like Microsoft and IBM are investing heavily in research and building solutions to provide more and more computing power, and less “need” to own and manage an ever increasing amount of computing technology.  As a result, everything from storage, security and basic infrastructure to actual software and applications is being offered for a fee in financial instruments such as, “Service Level Agreements”. 

As is always the case, when the management of business is turned over to another party there is a resulting loss of control.  This is an old dilemma couched in yet another new paradigm, albeit a good one.