An overview of Cloud Computing

A short overview

In the past, both software and data had to be stored and processed on your computer and/or a local server. Now these processes and storage can be done or held on the internet or "the Cloud".

Cloud diagram 1 

Cloud based applications and services can provide and support any type of software application or service in use today and can store any data type or size.

Who uses the cloud technology?

There are public clouds, private clouds and hybrids.

Cloud computing can completely change the way companies use technology to service staff, customers, suppliers and associates.

There are already some businesses, such as Google and Amazon, that have most of their IT resources in the cloud. They do it, for convenience, space savings and cost. Using the cloud they do not have to provide servers or storage and can even have their software run from the cloud.

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Where is the information stored?

On your personal computer your storage is on the computer, for example in My Documents on the C: drive.

A Web Server, is generally a group of privately owned computers or servers. The problem here is usage. The storage must be big enough and powerful enough to handle the customer's demands but cannot be too small and/or lack power because it may affect the speed (response time) of the service. If the storage and power are large but the demand is low the capability will go unused.

The cloud storage is like a huge bank of servers (possibly thousands in the one location), linked with other locations around the world.

If the website, is hosted in a cloud, additional processing power and storage is available from the cloud provider, instantaneously.

Cloud diagram 2 

How is the cloud paid for?

Users of the cloud pay for the privilege of using the services. The most popular payment format is the pay-as-you-go pricing model.

Google's storage cost are currently 25c / Gigabyte / year or 2c / Gigabyte / month with no additional transfer cost.

Who currently uses the system?

The cloud is rapidly gaining popularity with larger companies.

At the time of writing this, Google are using just about all its products on the cloud, including Open Office, Gmail, Picasa images, Google Apps and YouTube.
Microsoft are now following suit and will put most of its similar apps online permanently.

Does UWS use this system?

Currently the Student email system is a cloud based system and there are some new smaller cloud programs (like Cloudstor) that have been recently introduced.

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