Everyone is talking about “the cloud”. But what does it mean?
Although cloud computing is an emerging field of IT, the idea has been around for several years. It's called cloud computing because the data and applications exist on a "cloud" of Web servers. There is also a connection between cloud computing and the Internet which has often been represented as a big cloud.
The majority of people already use some form of cloud computing, often without knowing it. If you have an e-mail account with a web-based service like Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail, then you have some experience with cloud computing. Instead of running an e-mail application on your computer, you log into your account remotely through the internet, just like you plug into a utility. The software and storage for your account do not exist on your computer but run on a shared data centre. They are on the service provider's cloud.
In the same way companies have stopped generating their own electricity using steam engines and dynamos as the electric grid provided a better means of getting electricity, nowadays companies can rely on cloud service providers to get computing resources. Cloud computing works as a multi-tenancy system on a shared infrastructure. You only pay for what you need, upgrades are automatic and scaling up or down is easy.
With cloud computing, you eliminate a lot of headaches because you’re not managing hardware and software which is the responsibility of a specialized vendor. You do not need a server or storage, you do not need a technical team, no installation, no upgrade, no need to backup your files. You just log-in, customize your service and start to use it.
The benefits of cloud computing are agility, reliability and economies of scale, sustainability, scalability, faster time to market and cost reduction.