Cloud is an abstraction over the remote server that allows the end user to store, manage or process data. Applications and programs could be accessed on the Internet to enter and process data and store them as unique files and thus wipes out the need of local hard disks to store data.
A cloud could also be thought of as an on-line service system that abstracts an Internet. Since data, information, virtual platforms, programs and services are all available in a remote PC, cloud computing provides functionality that could be performed from anyplace at any given time.
Most enterprises have a private cloud that restricts prevents access for outside users. They are like traditional LANs but with an added advantage of visualization. It could be thought of as a bridge that binds with the physical data in the server and provides a logical snapshot on the client’s browser. Any additions and updations of data at the client side are reflected in the server at a regular interval.
Enterprises have cloud implemented in the form of either SaaS, PaaS or IaaS. SaaS or software as a service is an online program or a software application that are either available as paid or free services. In PaaS or platform as a service, a virtual operating system is hosted over the internet that follows its own protocols and security standards. Its private interface provides an additional level of security that blocks malicious programs such as virus and malwares and prevents access for the external users.
IaaS or Infrastructure as a service, is a rare concept used by enterprises who are unwilling to manage infrastructure of their own. It is also used by the enterprises when the cost to manage and maintain an infrastructure far exceeds its cost of outsourcing it. Google already provides an infrastructure that allows an enterprise user to create folder structure, add files, create groups or set permissions.
Microsoft now offers office lite(cloud-SaaS) that requires windows live offer to sign up and create and save documents online. Popular office applications such as MS-Word, MS-Excel, MS-Powerpoint and MS-Onenote are accessed via web browser. Also MS-Office 365, a local PC software, utilizes cloud computing(MS-OneDrive) for storage. Google drive, Apple iCloud, Amazon cloud drive and other hybrid services like Dropbox and SugarSync are other few examples of cloud computing.
In present time when most enterprises bank on cloud computing, devices such as laptops have paved way for lite devices like chrome-books. Chrome book is a complete cloud based laptop device. It has just enough memory space and a chrome web browser that is used as an interface to access any cloud supported application online.
Acting like an OS, Google chrome web browser allows the enterprise user to access apps, online media, storage and other services. Also in the market are small pen drive like device called ChromeBits that turns any display HDMI port into an usable computer – running on a Chrome OS. Although the Chrome OS works only on the internet, Google engineers are also working on an upgrade that allows its offline workability.
In the recent development, most enterprise systems support cloud based Business ERP App Development to streamline organization wide processes and work flows. Idea is to provide an unrestricted access to all their enterprise users within and outside the office premises in a flexible and secured manner.
Also popular trending among business users is CRM Application Development that are carried out on a mobile platform. It allows the end users to interface with their customers for the business purposes from the convenience of their smart-phones. It allows them to video chat, share files, schedule meetings and provide work update.
Enterprises however need to invest good chunk of money to get things on cloud. More the need for the bandwidth, more the cost payable by the enterprise. Also, since all the enterprise wide operations are carried out online, there is 100% of dependence on the health and availability of the remote server. Server crash, or unsaved data may result in discontinued services and data loss for the whole enterprise.
Sometimes data on cloud also raises question on intellectual property rights. Anyone having the access to the shared data or the resource could claim on its ownership.
Like Internet, cloud computing also offers immeasurable scope and benefits in contributing to the modern information technology, however the rules to govern the cloud based systems must keep changing from time to time for betterment.
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