Answers to the most complicated computing tasks are found in the clouds. Not the clouds in the sky that shower rain but clouds that deliver a super computing power on the internet.
Cloud computing is the development and use of computer technology using the internet. The word “cloud” has been used as a metaphor for the internet. This enables users to completely rely on the internet for satisfying all their computing needs. They will be able to access services that are technology-enabled on the internet or you could say “in the clouds.” Users do not need any sort of expertise or control over the technology or the support structure for that technology. With cloud computing, information can be stored permanently on the internet in huge servers and cached on desktops, table computers, notebooks, monitors, handhelds etc. on a temporary basis.
The frenzy around cloud computing is at its peak, with high-speed internet connections, powerful but cheaper disk drives, chips and huge data centers with hundreds of computers to serve millions of users. Customers will be able to rent this infrastructure and pay for the usage only. Cloud computing power is being tapped into by almost every major company as it delivers sophisticated data analysis in the quickest way possible.
Cloud computing is being looked at as extremely powerful because of its ability to perform tens of trillions of computations every second and this is huge when you compare it to the most powerful desktop PC, which can process about 3 billion computations in a second. This power can now be accessed through the web for analyzing financial portfolio risks, for playing computer games, for delivering personalized medical information etc. With cloud computing, large groups of servers that use low-cost consumer PC technology are networked through special connections that spread data processing chores across them.
The concept of cloud computing is not new as it has been around for ages. It goes way back to the 1960s, when John McCarthy commented that computation will be accessed as a public utility in the future. This term began to appear more often around the turn of the century and Amazon.com is said to be one of the pioneers that started stepping up their data centers and providing users access to their systems. Companies like IBM and Google along with several universities began researching on this form of computing and by the middle of 2008; it has become a hot topic. Realizing what this power could mean to them, soon many companies started showing interest in switching from using company-owned hardware and software to using pay per-use services.
Previously, supercomputers were used by the intelligence agencies, military, research labs, universities and major companies to handle calculations that are complex, such as designing airplanes, predicting climatic changes, for simulation of nuclear explosions and a whole lot of things. Let us take the example of Google providing commonly used business applications in the form of Google Apps, which can be accessed from any web browser. It is also on the verge of making hundreds of processors available to universities, such as Stanford University, MIT and other schools and universities, which will enable them to teach their students high-performance computing techniques. IBM is one of the major companies that have recently announced plans to use cloud computing technologies. They have unveiled a powerful system known as the “Blue Cloud,” which will help banks and other customers distribute their programs to a large number of machines for faster delivery of data analysis. Yahoo has also announced that Carnegie Mellon University will begin using a 4,000-processor computer that is housed at the Web company for software research.
Experts believe that it soon people will be using cloud computing just as they do electricity and other utilities, only paying for what they used. They say that this intangible computing power will certainly help improve utilization rates as it is shared between several people and the server capacity is not wasted. This will reduce costs significantly and increase the speed at which applications are developed.
You will no longer have to worry about peak loads because of the enormous computer capacity and the high-speed internet available today makes things much easier. The beauty and the convenience of buying supercomputing power just like you do electricity is certainly here to stay.