"Cloud Computing" please explain...

Wed 17 Feb, 2010 07:17 pm
I've been trawling through a2k hoping to find some info about 'cloud computing' but so far I haven't found anything. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place. Now, about this 'cloud computing'... I did google it, but the stuff I read wasn't down to my ground-level of comprehension. After a while it gets a bit hard to take in. I started to get the idea that with cloud computing, a user won't need an operating system, just a keyboard, monitor and wireless internet connection. That doesn't make sense... so now I need to call in the big-guns, a2k, and see if someone can explain to me, in basic everyday terms, how cloud computing would work, and what it's benefits were. And also, if the user has to pay some sort of rental for the use of this 'cloud computing'. Would cloud computing work out cheaper in the long run? Who would benefit most? And when is this phenomenon supposed to happen? Will I still be able to use my existing computer for the forseeable future?
Wed 17 Feb, 2010 07:23 pm
Here. I'll help you wait for a simple answer
0 Replies
Wed 17 Feb, 2010 07:25 pm
Gmail is an example of cloud computing. Google docs is an example of cloud computing.

Gmail is an alternative to say Microsoft Outlook: which the program and the emails are stored on your computer. Whereas Gmail (the program and the emails are stored on a server somewhere else).

Google Docs is an alternative to say Microsoft Word. To use Microsoft Word you have to have the program on your hard drive and then you have to save the program onto your hard drive or to a separate format (a rewriteable DVD or CD; or a removable hard drive like a USB drive, etc...).

You will need a computer that can access the internet. The way you save money is that you can save money by using a smaller processor, a smaller harddrive, etc....

The bulk of the processing will be done by an offsite computer.

I'll try to look for a more professional definition then this that can explain it simply and more concisely.
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Wed 17 Feb, 2010 07:31 pm
Cloud Computing, is basically internet based computing. Rather then having Microsoft word, or excel installed on your computer you would use a web based version. (See Google Docs) You would be able to access these programs from any computer that you have an internet connection to, and have access to your files. Web-Based email (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) also falls under cloud computing.

As far as a "rental" fee would go, some services might charge, for instance Amazon's S3 is a cloud back up solution that charges per GB. Who Benefits, Amazon benefits because you are paying them to use it, you benefit because you don't have to worry about data loss.

There are tons of applications for cloud based computing, I've even seen a few where it emulates a desktop, one that I've personally played around with is Ghost (http://g.ho.st/)

Hopefully this explains it better for you.

Wed 17 Feb, 2010 07:33 pm
It helps a lot. If you knew me, you would probably be surprised.
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ebrown p
Wed 17 Feb, 2010 09:39 pm
There really isn't much to the term "cloud computing". It is simply services offered over the internet.

In fact, you are doing cloud computing right now-- yes using Able2know is an example of cloud computing. You are reading words that aren't stored on you computer using a program (the able2know program which accesses stores and organizes these posts) that doesn't run on your computer.

In my opinion the term "cloud computing" is pretty silly. The idea is that everything about Able2know is stored in the "cloud" (i.e. the internet) in a way that you can't see and don't really need to know to use the service.

You simply type www.able2know.com and you access some collection of servers through a gateway or two or three. The message you are reading in stored in a database somewhere and is on some physical hard drive (or perhaps several hard drives) with a real life location. You don't know where this message is stored (I think I read it is in Chicago) but it doesn't matter. The location can even move (as I think it recently did); since it is a "cloud" the details don't matter and this doesn't affect the service.

Interestingly enough, Able2know uses a separate service, called gravatar, to handle our avatars. Where these avatars are stored, I haven't a clue. Again this is part of the "cloud" and it doesn't matter.

It is a marketing buzzword to hype up a set of increasingly common technologies.
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Robert Gentel
Wed 17 Feb, 2010 10:10 pm
While cloud computing really can mean many different things there are usually a key factor to it: economy of scale.

So it often strongly implies distributed computing. You can scale vertically (buy a bigger mainframe) or you can scale laterally (buy lots of commodity hardware and teach them to share the load) and cloud computing strongly implies the latter.

It also implies outsourcing services or infrastructure that have previously been local. So things like a forum aren't a typical example of "cloud computing" because they were never really local. But things like the tendency to stop using local storage and tape for backup and using remote services is.

Another recurring theme in cloud computing is abstraction from the hardware layer. These services are normally exposed to you as an API and you consume it without knowing anything about the hardware, which "in the cloud" implies a bit.

When you are renting the servers directly you don't really tend to call it the "cloud", when you are just consuming a distributed online resource that used to tend to be local then it is a better fit.

My two cents.
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ebrown p
Wed 17 Feb, 2010 10:27 pm
To answer the "no operating system" idea... again this phrase is a bit misleading. Every computer device has an operating system of one kind or another.

But the operating system can be designed to only do one thing... you could design a computer device that would only be an internet browser. This is an interesting idea since probably 95% of what normal people (non tech geeks) do on the computer is done through an internet browser-- and as has already been said, there are all kinds of services (some free and some for pay) from Able2know, to Googles word processor that are being offered over the internet using only a web browser.

There is a new trend of companies specifically limiting things you can do on their devices. In my opinion, this is a bad thing. Apple is selling what are really hand held computers... the hardware has lots of capabilities.

Apple is intentionally limiting these capabilities-- in fact it costs them money to make their computing devices (such as the ipod) less useful.

There is some claim that the control that this gives Apple over the devices they have sold allows them to ensure a consistent user experience that makes them easier to use. Many of this think this is hogwash... Apple really wants a monopoly on user experience that will mean more profits from a captive audience.

On the other hand, some users want a device that only does one thing with no complication. The reading devices (Kindle, Nook and the Sony reader) are examples of this... the devices are designed for one thing only. They access the internet (and are really examples of cloud computing in the way they access content), but they only do a very limited set of things for a singular purpose.

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Tue 20 Dec, 2011 08:52 am
Cloud Computing means having every piece of data you need for every aspect of your life at your fingertips and ready for use. Data must be mobile, transferable, and instantly accessible.

Applications in the cloud is what almost everyone has already used in the form of g mail, yahoo-mail, word press, the rest of google apps, the various search engines, wikipedia, etc. Some company hosts an application in the internet that many users sign-up for and use without any concern about where, how, by whom the compute cycles and storage bits are provided.
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