Technology is an ever-shifting paradigm, as evidenced by the forthcoming Chromebook and last week’s announcement of Apple’s iCloud. When I first started working with computers no one knew what an iPod was and very few people had palm pilots (remember those!?). A major important shift that I’m seeing in technology nowadays is the move to the cloud or online based computing. With this shift, I see several inherent drawbacks for users and businesses alike but there are also several areas of promise. Over the next week I will take a look at the inherent drawbacks and the good possibilities that the future holds with the advent of cloud computing. Additionally, we will be looking at the benefits of cloud computing and end users can benefit from this shift.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing can be a vague term meaning several things. In the simplest sense the term can mean “online access to and storage of files and media traditionally stored one’s ‘local’ desktop”. In a more pure form, cloud computing is referred to as “interconnected but independent web apps accessed in a strictly online sense with little or no dependence of a local computer or storage apparatus”. The processing or ‘thinking’ power, a key component, is accomplished by the local machine in the first instance (largely described as a glorified online storage system with built-in sharing and viewing capabilities) and is handled by the online server rather than the local computer in the second definition, harkening back to the old ‘mainframe’ with a terminal which accesses different ‘offsite’ programs. Whatever the chosen application, the way consumers interact with their files is changing and that change will present many hurdles for consumers and companies alike. Continue reading