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Introduction to Cloud Computing
Now a days Cloud Computing is everywhere. It is evolving and becoming popular so rapidly that it reminds me of the famous dialog from the movie “The Lord of the Rings”.
       “The age of Men is over. The time of the Orc has come.”
It’s true that
       “The age of local storage is over. The time of CLOUD has come”.

You may have ask yourself questions like:
  • What's the cloud?
  • Where is the cloud?
  • How does cloud work?
In this article we will introduce you to “Cloud Computing”.

What is Cloud Computing?


SAP HANA Cloud Platform
In simple words, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.

Cloud computing is the phrase used to describe different scenarios in which computing resource is delivered as a service over a network connection (usually, this is the internet). It is therefore a type of computing that relies on sharing a pool of physical and/or virtual resources, rather than deploying local or personal hardware and software.

Cloud computing is so named because the information being accessed is found in the "clouds", and does not require a user to be in a specific place to gain access to it.

What Cloud Computing is not about?
What cloud computing is not about is your hard drive. When you store data on, or run programs from the hard drive, that's called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data is fast and easy (for that one computer, or others on the local network). Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for.
The cloud is also not about having a dedicated hardware server in residence. Storing data on a home or office network does not count as utilizing the cloud.

Advantages of Cloud Computing:

Flexibility
Since virtual servers aren't physical, they are super flexible, giving you what you need at the moment. The second a company needs more bandwidth than usual, a cloud-based service can instantly meet the demand because of the vast capacity of the service’s remote servers.

Cost Efficient
Cloud computing is probably the most cost efficient method to use, maintain and upgrade. Traditional desktop software costs companies a lot in terms of finance. Adding up the licensing fees for multiple users can prove to be very expensive for the establishment concerned. The cloud, on the other hand, is available at much cheaper rates and hence, can significantly lower the company’s IT expenses. Besides, there are many one-time-payment, pay-as-you-go and other scalable options available, which makes it very reasonable for the company in question.

Almost Unlimited Storage
Storing information in the cloud gives you almost unlimited storage capacity. Hence, you no more need to worry about running out of storage space or increasing your current storage space availability.

Backup and Recovery
Since all your data is stored in the cloud, backing it up and restoring the same is relatively much easier than storing the same on a physical device. Furthermore, most cloud service providers are usually competent enough to handle recovery of information. Hence, this makes the entire process of backup and recovery much simpler than other traditional methods of data storage.

Automatic Software Integration
In the cloud, software integration is usually something that occurs automatically. This means that you do not need to take additional efforts to customize and integrate your applications as per your preferences. Cloud computing also allows you to customize your options with great ease. Hence, you can handpick just those services and software applications that you think will best suit your particular enterprise.

Easy Access to Information
Once you register yourself in the cloud, you can access the information from anywhere, where there is an Internet connection. This convenient feature lets you move beyond time zone and geographic location issues.

Scalability:
Scalability is a built-in feature for cloud deployments. Cloud instances are deployed automatically only when needed and as a result, you pay only for the applications and data storage you need. Hand in hand, also comes elasticity, since clouds can be scaled to meet your changing IT system demands.

Common Cloud Examples:

Using the cloud is more common than you think. Some major examples of cloud computing you're probably using are:

Email:
Some of the biggest cloud computing services are Web-based e-mail. Hotmail, Yahoo and of course the most common Gmail.
Email users can access files and applications hosted by Email Provider (for example Google) via the internet from any device.

Google Drive: This is a pure cloud computing service, with all the apps and storage found online. Drive is also available on more than just desktop computers; you can use it on tablets like the iPad or on smartphones.
In fact, all of Google's services could be considered cloud computing: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Voice, and so on.

Apple iCloud: Apple's cloud service is primarily used for online storage and synchronization of your mail, contacts, calendar, and more. All the data you need is available to you on your iOS, Mac OS, or Windows device.
Facebook: It’s one of the biggest provider of data storage online. It has more than 500 million users worldwide.
Other examples will be flickr, Picasa, Amazon etc.

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