Cloud Computing: Benefits, Limitations and its Future

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet. In cloud computing, individuals work with data maintained on web-based machines rather than physical servers or desktops. The cloud computing model allows access to information from anywhere. In its essence, ‘Cloud Computing’ is a phrase that is being used today to describe the act of storing, accessing, and sharing data, applications, and computing power in cyberspace. It is unclear as to when the term ‘Cloud Computing’ was coined. But it is believed that the term was first used by Google Chief Executive, Eric Schmidt in 2006.

The underlying concept of cloud computing can be dated to a public speech in the 1950’s which predicted that large mainframe computers were the future of computing and were meant to provide access to information to people twenty-four seven. Although the concept was born early, it wasn’t as late as the 90’s that the concept was put to use in the form of Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s).

In early 2008, Eucalyptus became the first open-source, AWS (Amazon Web Services) API-compatible platform for deploying private and hybrid clouds. This was followed by the development and launching of many private and public clouds in the subsequent years. IBM launched IBM SmartCloud, NASA jointly launched a cloud initiative called OpenStack, Apple launched iCloud and Oracle joined the league with Oracle Cloud. Cloud computing has also seen a lot of innovation and development in the past few years. There are more than 18 million software developers worldwide, yet less than 25 percent are developing for the cloud today. We can expect this number to rise exponentially; as cloud continues to be adopted, more developers will develop for the cloud—especially when you consider that 85 percent of the new software being built today is for the cloud. For the companies planning to adopt Cloud and for those who already have delved into this sector, cost reduction in a minor factor, for most, increase in innovation is the major propellant behind adopting this new technology.

Cloud, like any new service has advantages and disadvantages. It reduces costs, increases productivity, has easy maintenance, and is not only becoming, increasingly reliable but also a platform for innovation and product development. While there are many positives, there are privacy and security concerns which are marring the popularity of the cloud. The fact that cloud computing involves the aggregation of computing power, and more importantly, information, safety and privacy has become a source of increasing concern. The privacy and confidentiality risks faced by businesses that use cloud services also depend to a large extent on the terms of service and privacy policy established by the cloud service providers. Failure to comply with data protection legislation may lead to administrative, civil and criminal sanctions. Users, providers and government policy-makers are asking many questions about the current use and future evolutionary path of cloud computing.

Cloud has the potential to be adopted by different industries in different sectors. It has a cosmic potential outside the IT sector where it currently is being used. Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Education/Research are just some examples where the cloud has yet to face impending success. In the IT industry itself one can look at cross device interactions, remote controlling and monitoring, real time note taking and mobile productivity solutions. Cloud technologies and innovations have yet to reach its full potential. In the years to come one may simply see desktops and laptops go extinct, with the development of cloud, people will work in internet based applications from smartphone devices.


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