The 8th and last in our jargon series (for the time being at least) looks at the concept of cloud computing.
The cloud is an emergent type of computing that is highly prevalent in the software industry. Software. Essentially the cloud a method of storing data – using programs over the internet as opposed to your computer’s hard Drive. Typically this data will be hosted from a data centre somewhere or from a software vendor’s server and is delivered over the internet to your PC. Simply put the cloud is just a metaphor for the internet.
The term cloud was adopted from flowchart and network diagrams that depict the internet or a network. The concept of the cloud has actually been around since the 1970’s however cloud computing as we know today didn’t really come into prominence until around 2008-2010. Amazon (Elastic Compute Cloud), Microsoft (Azure), IBM (SmartCloud and Oracle (OracleCloud) becoming leading companies to exploit this concept as an opportunity to revolutionise how IT services are offered to clients.
Cloud computing can be an advantageous solution for lots of different type of vendors. A lot of companies particularly SME’s often lack the time or money to invest, maintain and manage a personal infrastructure but cloud computing enables organisations to access these resources and the rental models adopted by data centres means that these organisations will not get stuck with resources they no longer need if their business pivots.
The line between local computing (your hard drive) and the cloud is becoming increasingly blurry – Think of Office 365 as an example (which can be a local piece of software) this utilises OneDrive which is a cloud based storage application. The reality is that the cloud is present on a lot of aspects surrounding our technology and our lives in general. As a result Cloud computing has grown to be a large industry; it’s set to generate circa $127 billion USD in 2017 and is predicted to grow to $500 Billion by 2020.
One of the main remaining concerns over Cloud Computing is its security especially when it is involving a multi-tenanted public cloud environment. In this scenario stringent measures need to be taken to isolate data from the various tenants. Organisations that are bound by their clients or by legal/ regulatory statutes in relation to the level of security at which they keep their data are still cautious about placing their data in the cloud due to the possibility of theft, accidental leakage or internet outages. However improved security, historical reliability and better data encryption is largely eroding this issue.
We hope you have enjoyed our jargon article series. It’s an area that we will probably revisit overtime; with the way the industry is moving and evolving there are sure to be some new terms for us to learn soon!