Cloud Computing: What it Is, Etc.

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There has been some buzz about cloud computing for some time, and while it can benefit businesses the most, perhaps us regular folk can benefit from it too, whether its for our personal use, or in the grander scheme of things.

We come in contact with the essence of this system everyday, from storing our photos on Facebook and using online currency converters, to uploading videos on YouTube and opening documents on Google Docs. Cloud computing basically refers to system of dedicated servers which provide us a set of services (i.e. applications, storage) online or in the “cloud”. It is touted as effective and more energy efficient because they use both software and hardware that is specifically made for the task.

The photo above is from an interesting article by Google discussing the environmental benefits of cloud computing. Breaking it down to simpler terms, the company says that “It takes more energy to send a message in a bottle than it does to use Gmail for a year” and that “you’d have to watch YouTube for three straight days…to consume the amount of energy required to manufacture, package and ship a single DVD.”

However, let’s get the obvious out of the way – without Internet you can’t access your media and data on the cloud, even though it offers a way to access your files anywhere without lugging around a physical storage device. Moreover, online apps such as Google Docs still doesn’t compare to the flexibility and power that word processing programs such as Microsoft Word have, but they can be prove to be very convenient.

While the cloud does offer us a great way to backup our precious data and personal media, I will personally always have doubts about not having a tangible copy of my files and relying on unseen servers. However, it does have great potential and its eco-friendly benefits is a great advantage. If this system gets developed well, in a few years, we might all just end up in the clouds.

 

Photo Credits: Net-Security, The Official Google Blog