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Walking on Clouds—the Freedom of Going Virtual

Cloud computing is fast reshaping the world. It changes the way we store and manage data. It redefines the way we conduct business. It allows us to carry a single laptop or Smartphone and access an arsenal of features that previously demanded a roomful of expensive computer equipment. Heck, soon enough we’ll be able to upload our minds to reality 2.0 and live up there in the cloud—now there’s a thought!

But before that happens, let’s take a look at what’s already happening today.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is essentially a different approach to how we go about executing IT operations. In the past, to perform any given task, each individual had to own the necessary software and hardware, which in turn had to be properly set up, installed/configured, and maintained.

To take a simple example, suppose you wanted to set up a raid system to back up your digital data. This required a computer with compatible hardware to act as a server, and a software program that could perform the necessary function. Both the software and the hardware had to be set up correctly, and the system as a whole had to be maintained.

All this (at long last) enabled you to perform the desired operation on that particular system, and if something went wrong, it was up to you to troubleshoot the problem or to hire a professional who could do it for you.

If this setup was rigged in your office and you wanted to back up data on your home computer as well you had to put together a second system, equivalent to the first.

Needless to say, this approach was very costly (not to mention inconvenient). But it’s how we used to live.

The nature of our technology simply could not facilitate any alternative.

But with the internet becoming ever prevalent, a far more elegant solution has evolved: enter the Cloud...

The name is derived from the ‘cloud’ symbol that used to represent telecom infrastructure, and later the internet itself, in early flowcharts and diagrams. It epitomizes the idea of severing the user from the equipment—or ‘data’ from ‘location’—to essentially ‘float’, as if in the air. There’s something decidedly sci-fi about this concept: just imagine, all your data simply ‘out there’, accessible whenever you need it. Sure gives ‘out of the aether’ a whole new meaning!

But unlike the fabled substance, this phenomenon is real.

It’s in effect a form of specialization. If previously individuals had to own the infrastructure to perform any IT operation required by their business, now companies recognizing the potential for specialization have stepped up to offer these as services. It's a far more dynamic approach than the rigid, old-fashioned model. The principles of specialization have always made societies far more productive, as people could stop wasting precious time and resources doing a little bit of everything and instead focus on what it was each of them did best. It's the same here. Instead of each business owner setting up his own on-site backup, phone system, etc—he can simply shop around for a company that offers any of these as a virtual service, and for a single low monthly fee make use of their established infrastructure via a convenient web portal. Anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

By letting their centralized servers take over all the heavy lifting, the rest of us are freed to enjoy a streamlined existence with just our favorite gizmo, an internet access, and a latte.

Now that's working in style!

To read more about the benefits of a Virtual platform and why it’s superior to a physical system, check out '5 Reasons Virtual Systems are Taking Over the Physical World'

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posted by Maty Grosman @ 4:18 PM