Over the past year the term Cloud Computing has been thrown around more and more. What exactly is Cloud Computing and how is it relevant to you, the every day computer user? Cloud computing refers to a way of providing computer resources remotely through an Internet service rather than housing them on the computer itself or even in the local area network (LAN). What this means is that not much data will be housed or stored on your computer. Instead, the computer platform will be provided via the Internet as a service along with the infrastructure and software that you need.
Cloud computing has influenced the popularity of netbook type computers that require very little storage memory. Instead they focus on speedy access to the Internet with an emphasis on accessing remote services and resources rather than housing them. Resources are usually provided by 3rd party providers and ultimately, they save users huge amounts of money because they do not maintain or develop these resources themselves.
There are many benefits to the cloud computing concept. Using remote resources allows for agility and flexibility. It allows for competition, which ultimately leads to lower prices. Another characteristic of resources provided in a cloud are that they are web-based and accessible from any web browser. This means that resources can be shared and accessed from anywhere. Cloud resources are often very reliable because their providers focus on that resource alone and build in huge amounts of redundancy.
Looking forward, home computer users can expect their computers to get much smaller and to require less storage memory than ever before. Already many thousands of people store their photos and videos on sites like Facebook and rely on their services to store and preserve those files. In the future, users will most likely maintain user accounts or profiles for the various services that they use with some of them even requiring a paid subscription.
Cloud computing will probably also continue to provide us with major online brands that home users will recognize and trust. Brands like this do already exist in the form of Google, MSN and other major online providers.