Cloud Computing: The delivery of computing resources over the Internet.
When you store your photos online instead of on your home computer, or use webmail or a social networking site, you are using a “cloud computing” service. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing resources over the Internet instead of keeping data on your own hard drive or updating applications for your needs, at another location, to store your information or use its applications. The cloud computing model allows access to information and computer resources from anywhere that a network connection is available. Cloud computing provides a shared pool of resources, including data storage space, networks, computer processing power, and specialized corporate and user applications.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing:
On-demand self-service: Customers can request and manage their own computing resources.
Broad network access: Allows services to be offered over the Internet or private networks.
Resource pooling: Customers draw from a pool of computing resources, usually in remote data centers.
Rapid elasticity: Services can be scaled larger or smaller.
Measured service: Use of a service is measured and customers are billed accordingly.
With a cloud storage service, you can be sure that you never lose important files such as work documents, family photos, your favorite music and anything else you care about on your computer. Like with online backup, if your hard drive crashes, your computer is stolen, you accidentally erase important information from your computer or you otherwise lose access to important files, cloud storage services give you the ability to quickly restore any lost information.
Cloud storage is especially useful for people who work on many different devices. These services sync your files across all of your computers, or even phone, to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information and version of the file available no matter where you are. You can even collaborate on files and share them with others, with each person able to see changes in real-time!
Most popular Cloud Storage Providers:
Dropbox is a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show upon all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website so you can access your stuff from anywhere. You can create a free account on Dropbox for 2 GB of storage online. If you invite friends and they join Dropbox, you can an acquire an extra free 250 MB on online storage per friend, up to 8 GB.
Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service provided by Google which enables user cloud storage, file sharing and collaborative editing. Google Drive is now the home of Google Docs, a suite of productivity applications that offer collaborative editing on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. Google Drive offers all users an initial 15 GB of online storage space, usable across three of its most-used services: Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos.
SkyDrive is a personal cloud storage service from Microsoft that enables customers to store, synchronize and access their files across Windows PC and Mac OS X computers and laptops as well as mobile devices. SkyDrive offers up to 7GB of cloud storage for free.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Cloud Storage:
It’s cheap, doesn’t require installation, doesn’t need replacing, has backup and recovery systems, has no physical presence, requires no environmental conditions, requires no personnel and doesn’t require energy for power or cooling.
While consumers are used to slow internet downloads, they aren’t accustomed to waiting long periods of time for a document or spreadsheet to load.