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An Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has become a buzz word in the last few years and one that comes with a fair amount of support on both sides and while it may sound a bit intimidating the odds are not bad that you are doing at least some amount of cloud computing already and in the future there seems little doubt that more will be done, but it is useful to know what it is because there are both major advantages and major disadvantages to it.

The idea behind cloud computing is based on a simple enough idea, that is that computer processing power is a resource that should be shared, similar to the electrical grid rather than each processor working alone. It uses the Internet to do so and can allow computers to work together far better.

The most important advantage of cloud computing is for the end user or consumer. The idea is that because most of the processing is done ‘in the cloud your own home computer doesn’t need to do all that much. It becomes something closer to a TV receiving information than what it is now, making it far easier for those who don’t have any technical expertise.

The disadvantages of cloud computing also exist though. And by far the most basic is that, because your information and programs are generally not on your own computer you become tied to the whim of companies as well as requiring the Internet to do almost anything. For anyone who has had to deal with getting new copies of music they bought on itunes, or tried to cancel a subscription to something they no longer want the down side of this is easy to see. In addition to this your information is also generally in the cloud and so this makes security a more important issue, but it also puts the security in the hands of those who should be best at it.

Cloud computing is not a science fiction idea, it is in fact being used by a lot of major companies such as Amazon and Google to help the reliability of their services and even to give their clients access to free software. Google has multiple programs which can be used on their browser and of course gmail is a major cloud computing project as your mail never needs to be directly downloaded to your computer unless you want it to be.

Cloud computing is an interesting idea and one that is most popular with the biggest companies on the web but in the end many fear it will take away some of the most important aspects of the Internet and the argument is not likely to end soon.

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