To sum it up, what exactly is this “cloud computing”?

Question by Kaitlyn: To sum it up, what exactly is this “cloud computing”?
What do people mean when they talk about “cloud computing” in magazines, advertisement, commercial, companies, etc?

Or is my question too broad?
***Also, why is there so much investment going into it?***

Best answer:

Answer by Hugh
The “Cloud” is basically a remote computer that allows you to upload and save your files. It can act as a backup or facilitate collaboration.
Google Docs and MS Sky Drive are good, free examples.

Add your own answer in the comments!

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4 Responses to “To sum it up, what exactly is this “cloud computing”?”
  1. Meh, Internets says:

    On a server owned by another company (accessed over the internet), storing data, processing data, etc.

    When you upload your files to a file sharing service, that’s the cloud. When a company buys server time from Amazon, that’s the cloud.

  2. Alsh says:

    It’s just another “buzz term” for using and accessing applications online (server) rather than the application being accessed from your own computer.

    The cloud is actually the internet. Also clouds are depicted as the internet in diagrams, flowchars, etc.

  3. Mr. Smartypants says:

    ‘Cloud Computing’ has to do with storing your files on the Internet. So for instance, you’re writing a letter and you save it temporarily to work on it later. But instead of saving it on your own hard drive you store it on the Internet. You don’t even know (or care) where it is, physically, it’s just ‘out there’. Now two days later you can be sitting in a coffee shop and pull out your netbook and get back to work on it. At the same time it’s ‘nowhere’ and ‘everywhere’.

    More and more people nowadays save their ‘family album’ photos at a place like Flickr. They don’t even know where they are! But they are safer there than in your computer at home. Plus you don’t have to send grandma the pictures you took of the kids at the pool last Saturday, you only have to tell here the URL and maybe a password. Or you can put together an extended ‘family album’ with your aunts & uncles & cousins that everyone can see.

    Storage has gotten just incredibly cheap in the last few years. Like $ 50/terabyte. So you can store stuff online for free or nearly. If you see it as a trend, you can envision a time when computers don’t even have their own storage. You turn the computer on, it connects instantly to the Internet, and it has ‘unlimited’ storage in ‘the cloud’.

  4. Basant says:

    Let us simplify this with a simple example: Gmail is a cloud service. Having said that, this doesn’t mean that any service hosted on the web is a cloud service. Cloud Computing Services must have following 5 attributes:

    —available everywhere i.e. uses Internet technologies, hassle-free, in most cases no installations/downloads etc.
    —available on demand i.e. metered like your electric bills.
    —can be accessed on any device i.e. device independent.
    —Resource Sharing i.e Multi-Tenant (ability of the software to be offered to multiple users),
    —Scalable & Elastic i.e. capacity can be sized up or sized down with in minutes, based on demand. Your business is growing you spin up more servers & pay only for whatever you use. Come recession & if your business is shrinking use less number of servers & pay less. This is as simple & quick as a simple configuration/settings. (No need to buy infrastructure which may lie idle/unproductive once your business doesn’t require them)

    A common user will use Cloud SaaS (Gmail, Dropbox etc). Developers & techies use Cloud IaaS (hosting infrastructure) & PaaS (development environment).

    The investment is growing simply because the cloud market is growing rapidly & it has immense business potential.