Cloud Computing - A Silver Lined Cloud or Not? It is said 'every cloud has a silver lining'; is this true of the concept of cloud computing? To have your head in the clouds generally means you have no idea what is going on around you; does the same adage hold true for cloud computing or will putting your faith in it give you for clearer view of your IT usage and save you money as well. What is cloud computing? The term cloud is a name give to represent the whole of the internet and will be shown as one in diagrams. In a nutshell this relatively new technology provides you with access to a remote server where your company runs all or a proportion of your IT from. This remote server is cunningly named the cloud, presumably because you do not need to know what is going on inside. What is in the cloud? Every element you would normally hold on your company server and individual employee's computers would be available from the remote server. The interior of the cloud does not only house the hardware needed to run all your IT needs but also includes software packages, applications and data storage normally run in-house; thus removing the need for your own server and its incumbent problems. It would also save the cost of purchasing multiple software licenses and maintenance. The technology would be shared with many other companies and individuals who buy into the scheme. Does cloud computing give you access to everything in there? The simple answer is "No". The cloud computing company and the client would draw up a contract stipulating what services were being purchased and agreeing a fee for there provision. What services does cloud computing provide? There are a number of different services provided the most popular being they are named with a prefix letter and followed by aaS (as a Service): - • Saas - Software as a Service. This gives the client the opportunity to use shared software on the server. This can dramatically reduce the cost of using software as you will not have to purchase software packages or their licences nor employ someone to ensure their patches or service packs are up to date. • PaaS - Platform as a Service. This is very similar to SaaS but you are using shared applications rather than software. As with software there may be a drawback if your company is specialised and you require dedicated applications or software. • HaaS - Hardware as a Service. This is purely the supply of hardware space from the remote server. The main use here is for data storage, network equipment and server space. This can save costs on purchasing and maintaining your own servers as the cloud computer company takes responsibility for them all. It is also known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). • DaaS - Database as a Service. If the above three services were fairly straight forward with their naming this service should be a cinch to understand. The type and method of service may be different dependant on the cloud computer company. The three main players in this type of computing are Google, Amazon and Microsoft. The subject of this type of computing is quite complex and to cover the subject in a short article is not possible however these few paragraphs have at least given you the basics of what cloud computing is about and what it has to offer.