The Cloud, Cloud Computing, and Cloud Hosting and Storage have become all-too-familiar terms that now extend past the IT industry. Just the word ‘cloud’ brings to mind a magical land that erases hardware woes, and gently lifts one up into a utopia where one never again has to fret over software issues, technical support, or the backing up of data. It also conjures images of rainbows spurting out free million dollar software packages and friendly unicorns who offer pleasant and helpful cloud training.
While cloud computing is a real technology that has revolutionised the way business software is handled, it is by no means new nor is it unlimited or absolute in its abilities. The only aspect of cloud computing that has been recently fabricated is the buzz word ‘cloud’.
The omnipresent and all-knowing wikipedia claims “Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.”
This definition sounds strangely similar to the use of mainframes in offices many eons ago. An entire office would use the shared resources, software and information based on a mainframe that was accessed by each user via a thin client. Now the main difference between this system and the concept referred to as ‘cloud computing’ is that the cloud is based around the internet.
With this point conceded, the birth of the internet still occurred over thirty years ago, well before ‘the cloud’ became a house hold term. This also meant the dawn of servers. While not thirty years old, the technology surrounding cloud computing has been available for many years. In a business setting each member of an organisation has their individual computer with an internet connection. This joins them to their company server where software, databases, and information is stored and shared among users. While some organisations have business software installed on individual computers, this is not the only method in which companies function.
One example is Ironbark Software, who offer their business solutions in several ways. The client can purchase their own hardware, use rented space on a preferred provider’s server, or they can take advantage of the Ironbark data centre. They are then able to purchase or subscribe to their choice Ironbark Software package. If they choose to subscribe to the software and use the Ironbark data centre then they simply pay a single set subscription fee that includes hardware maintenance, rental space, server space, and software license and subscription.
Therefore while the ‘newness’ of cloud computing has been debunked, the concept of storing data and software on a server and making it accessible to clients and end users via a simple-to-access internet portal is fantastic technology that has revolutionised the industry and is only going to be developed further by research and development giants such as Ironbark Software.