If you have seen any system architecture diagrams, which I guess you should
have, you couldn't have missed the cloud in the center of any system diagrams.
The cloud usually means "Internet". So it goes without saying that the
cloud in "cloud computing" simply means the Internet. However when
computing is added to it, there is a whole new meaning. As with any upcoming
technology buzzwords, "cloud computing" is bound to have many
definitions. It simply means any service that is available over Internet.
If you are wondering why would someone need this. In any IT environment, the
available resources always has a limit and is a bottleneck to the whole
performance. With cloud computing there is no limit to the available resources
as the infrastructure, applications and services are provided over the internet
and hence there is no need for in house IT infrastructure to host applications.
Similarly the licensing, version control of services and applications will also
be managed by the cloud computing providers.
When talking about cloud computing, you cannot miss discussing about SaaS. Software
as a Service has been there for a while now, but recently it is gaining more
and more focus as cloud computing concept is getting more acceptable. In fact it
is not totally wrong to say that cloud computing and SaaS are one and the same.
When software is provided as a service, the end user need not worry about buying
and managing licenses of each of the applications an enterprise needs. They also
do not require an IT infrastructure and IT manpower to maintain and support the
system. For a monthly subscription fee usually in a pay per use model, a startup
company can start using any software right from day one.
That doesn't mean that SaaS
is only for Startups and Smaller companies. Even medium and large companies can
benefit from cloud computing, by switching to cloud computing as it can greatly
reduce their OPEX (Operational Expenses) by removing the need to rent, maintain,
support data centers and IT professionals to manage the same. Big names like
Google, Microsoft, Amazon, salesforce.com are all market leaders in promoting
It only needs to be seen, what will be the take up rate of SaaS in different
regions of the world. Since the whole idea depends on a strong Internet
Bandwidth availability from end to end. Many SaaS providers are mushrooming
around the world, some big and some small. The success of these providers
depends on customizing the available applications and adding values with their
own strengths to differentiate themselves from the rest of the croud.