These days we are hearing about cloud computing a lot, though this phrase has been in discussion for a decade now. This is the most talked phrase being used recently, after the ‘Web2.0’ hype. I am trying to peep into the basic idea of this hardcore buzz and to know what it is all about. After exploring few articles I got amazed that unknowingly I have been using ‘cloud computing’ as some of the web services since a long.
Cloud computing is a latest buzz all around with respect to web technologies and services. As web 2.0, this phrase is also being defined differently but the basic idea is almost same. In which users are getting web services on free or priced manner from service providers located at remote places.
Cloud computing seems to be a new phrase but looking into the concept, we all have been using it since quite a long., e.g. email services of yahoo, google, sify or others, YouTube and, Google Docs etc. are embedded with the ‘cloud computing’. These services are free and we have also been putting important information on our email IDs, youtube, flicker, and now few social networks (facebook etc.) where we have been sharing or shifting our personal information or data in different formats on the web. All these servers holding our information on the web can be metaphorically treated as clouds.
The ideal crux is, when we are directly or indirectly shifting our personal or organizational data on the servers which offer their services (web services, infrastructural services or application's platform) free of cost or on payment, is called ‘cloud computing’. In simple terms, our data which has stored over the Internet (virtual place) and can be accessible 24x7.
Areas of Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing is again still searching for an established definition but as of now it means using web services of others to satisfy users' computing needs, like – software applications, data storage and using different platforms to build needed applications. On basis of this cloud computing can broadly be divided in following three segments:
Software as a Service (SaaS): In this application or software is given as service to users, who can access the required programme online. For example email and few other services offered by Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, Sify, Skype etc.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): To run required service a special platform or application infrastructure is also being provided to the clients where clients can build their web based applications. Client does not require to know programming language, database management systems, etc. to run applications. Windows Azure, Google App Engine and Force.com can be few of good examples of PaaS.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): In IaaS, clients are being offered with storage, networking and processing of data. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or Simple Storage Service (S3), VMWare vCloud are some of its examples.
Inspite of using cutting edge technologies in ‘cloud computing’, still we are in debate of its use in our official systems. Therefore, following pros and cons have been observed which may broadly be focused upon.
- All time accessibility of data.
- Technical problems related to storage and accessibility can be taken care by the providers.
- No need of procuring high capacity storage server.
- User does not have to download and install any update on his/her desktop.
- User does not have to be master of the applications used in ‘cloud computing’
- Security of data is the major concerned.
- Need high capacity bandwidth while accessing subscribed services.
- You can lose control on your information or data.
- What happen when stored data get lost?
Use of cloud computing is depend on person to person and organization to organization. Storing personal data or information on other’s servers may not going to effect anyone else except you but where shifting or storing organizational data on other servers may effect everyone associated with that organization. Library is a service oriented system, which need high speed IN and OUT processing of data. It is good when data from these web based clouds is accessible to users but what will happen when we see any cloud burst?
Now question arises, how do we use and where we use ‘cloud computing’ in libraries, we would discuss the same in our next post.