Monday, September 15th, 2008 | Computer Usage
And now they are talking about cloud computing . What is it? It is difficult to get an exact definition, because, like a cloud in the sky, the concept is rather nebulous.
One definition found on the web is not too bad:
For many, it simply means “something done outside my walls.” What it means in practice is a collection of resources — applications, platforms, raw computing power and storage, and managed services (like antivirus detection) — delivered over the internet.
Let me put this in even more simple terms: All you need is a computing device – a desktop PC, or a laptop, or a PDA; some cell phones may even do. All the application software programmes that you require are living somewhere on the web (free or at a cost); the data that you create is then stored back on the web (free or at a cost).
In theory you really need only two things: a computing device and internet access. And if you play your cards well, it could all be free. For example, Google has all the office products you need and allows you to store your files on their site. Social networking sites allow you to store information, conversations, pictures and video clips at their cost. Bookmarking tools enable you to store your favorites on the web. You can even host a blog at no cost!
The implication of all of this is that you can go wherever you like – you will have your applications and data available. They are in the clouds – always ready to be pulled. You are neither bound to a physical location, nor are you restricted by storage space. A simple, inexpensive device will do the trick for you.
If one goes for the free software and storage options, computing could potentially be within the grasp of all the poor people in Africa – they must just find a device from somewhere and get internet access.
This is perhaps where the silver lining of the computing cloud disappears – the non-availability of equipment and the current exorbitant cost of internet connectivity will keep African feet firmly planted on the ground for the foreseeable future.
For updated information on cloud computing, click here.