Cloud Computing

"I don't need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster... carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison."

~Steve Jobs

References / Learn More

[1] How does cloud computing work?

[2] Pros & Cons of Cloud Computing

[3] Cloud Computing Q&A

[4] Video - What is Cloud Computing?

[5] Video - Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a term that has been around for quite some time now. The concept of cloud computing is quite simple and easy to understand. And no, it doesn't mean using computers high up in the clouds, if that's what you were thinking. In its simplest of terms, it refers to a type of computing which depends on sharing resources online rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. To make things even simpler to understand, it is basically the process of storing and accessing programs and data over the internet, instead of having a physical hard drive. The word "cloud" is merely a metaphor for the Internet.

Over the years, cloud computing has transformed through numerous phases which include grid and utility computing, application service provision (ASP) and Software as a Service (SaaS). The history of cloud computing dates back to longer that when most of us would think. Most sources of information state that the inception of cloud computing goes back to the mid-20th century. In the 1950s, it was possible to access a central computer through individual computer clusters. However, due to insufficient funding and maintenance difficulties, implementation seemed impractical at the time. At the same time, having such advanced facilities wasn't really required by most organizations.

About two decades later, the concept of virtual machines was created. This made room for multiple distinct computing environments to reside on one physical environment. Moving on to the 90s, telecommunication firms started offering virtualized private network connections (VPNs). The virtualized private network connections had the similar service quality as their dedicated services, and were offered at more economic rates.

Cloud computing comes with many advantages. Users are able to save costs and have a reliable and manageable method of accessing their data almost anywhere at any time. Organizations can also use cloud computing to obtain a strategic edge over there competitors. On the contrary, there are also some drawbacks. One of the biggest concerns is security and downtime. There have many been many cases where sensitive data has been leaked, affecting several individuals.

Cloud computing is a revolutionary phenomenon and it is here to stay. With advancements in technology, security is becoming tighter and tigther, thereby hopefully working towards a safer online environment.

Questions on my mind

1. Is there any substitute for cloud computing?

2. How much would it cost for a cloud computing service to be set up?

3. Does the set-up process require any specific hardware?

4. What would happen if data gets lost or corrupted?

5. Is cloud computing worth the risk and money?

Amer Ahmad
CMU-Q Computer Science
Class of 2019