Cloud computing is the next big thing in the Information Technology (IT) development. The concept has come a long way since it first came on the scene in the late 1960s. Since then demand driven computing industry has started offering solutions rather than specific hardware and software to link together the complicated global infrastructure. Computing is turning into cloud computing it seems.
The “cloud” in metaphoric term “cloud computing” is a set of hardware, software, networks, storage, and interfaces that combine to deliver different features of computing as a service over the internet (either as separate components or as a composite platform) based on users’ demand. Simply put, cloud computing is a service through which everything from computing power to computing infrastructure, applications, business processes to personal collaboration can be delivered to users wherever and whenever they need.
Internet based alternatives to using computer specific applications, cloud computing is not entirely new to those who use the internet. Many cloud based services such as webmail (Hotmail, Yahoo), social media (Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter), Flickr photo sharing and management application and many others using remote storage and processing have been a part of everyday life of web users for a long time. The main advantage of cloud computing is that the users do not have to bear the upfront costs of the hardware and software. As per Oracle estimates, “an enterprise can save its expenses significantly with 35 per cent deduction in operation expenses, 44 per cent cost reduction in electricity charges and 85 per cent saving in physical cost”. The interest that big players (Oracle, Microsoft, Google, IBM and many others) have generated does not come only from economy of investment, but from qualitative considerations as well. Using the best cloud service available is faster and efficient than in house IT deployments. Businesses, though a cloud, can change their operational characteristics, placing less emphasis on IT operations and development, and more on core business operations and growth through the productive use of IT.
Cloud computing phenomenon is poised to make a central surge on the market for years to come. According to a global study by IBM, more than 60 per cent of organisations plan to “embrace Cloud Computing over the next five years” to boost their “competitive advantage.” These statistics can be mirrored in local market as well.
Given the known and tested benefits of the cloud, businesses and governments in developing countries can bring in cloud technologies that were otherwise beyond reach. With cloud computing, developing economies can embrace next-generation tools, applications and related IT infrastructure. A recent study conducted by GfK Custom Research reveals that turning to cloud services is topping business and software strategies in emerging markets around the world. The age of cloud is seen to gain wide acceptance across all industries with emphasis on growth of cloud services implementation in the next two years.
Cloud computing model is one of the economical behind the scenes business methodologies that the web has made possible and it is working very successfully in more connected world. Many industry analysts see cloud computing becoming a big success. Small and medium businesses can rely on cloud computing and can start using the web as a business tool rather than a commuCloud computing is ideal for countries like Pakistan. Setup a business and put the applications almost for free on the cloud without installing a huge IT infrastructure which at times may cost more than the actual capital of the business. The impact of any such development may be seismic here. Thankfully, Pakistani businesses and organisations have started to look for ways to integrate cloud computing it into their operations. Telecom, electronic, print media, education and banking sectors possess exceptional potential to utilise cutting-edge technologies in their businesses and many are already using cloud infrastructure for database and business applications. Cloud computing is smart, useful and attractive technology for Pakistan with its tremendous growth witnessing presently in the local and multinational companies despite of challenges and widespread misconceptions. From a technology standpoint, cloud is an important evolution of virtualisation, automation, management, and operations discipline. From a business perspective, it is all that and more. Businesses have rarely had the freedom and agility implied through cloud services today. How you combine and recombine the growing array of services available will make a difference in the long run. Cloud is ready to replace but businesses can supplement their PC centric computing to get use to it.
Hopes are that demand driven cloud computing picks up here. One wishes to see it happen as soon as possible.
The writer is Deputy Controller of Examination at Lahore School of Economics. He blogs at http://logicisvariable.blogspot.com and can be reached at [email protected]