We’ve paraphrased the title of Pink Floyd’s seventh album not because it was also the soundtrack of a very interesting French film (La Vallée, 1972) but mainly because today we will try to give you an overview on cloud computing.
The term “cloud” became more and more frequent in IT since quite a few years now and it’s likely to become an IT-vocabulary champion soon so we’ll probably hear and use it as often as currently used by meteorologists, pilots and farmers.
Apparently the word “cloud” started its technical career due to the diagrams used by computer engineers: one server is graphically represented by a small icon within a circle so the representation of a multitude of servers grouped in a cluster looks like lots of crowded olympic circles. Or like a grape. “Or like a cloud“, must have figured out some engineer with obvious poetic tendencies.
Thanks to whom ‘clouds’ brought their mystery, ambiguity and remoteness in almost all our today’s computer-related conversations, conferences, writings and advertisements.
But the concept is much older than its fancy name: remember the beginnings of the Internet and all those free email providers? Where exactly do you think your (and the other zillion users’) free email accounts were physically being kept? No idea, right? Well, that’s because it was all about remote, ambiguous and even mysterious locations your inner self might have reffered to as “Don’t know-Don’t care“. Today you can call it “cloud” while the IT industry is ambitioned to offer more and more services for you to use in the same “Don’t know-Don’t care” manner.
Basically, cloud-computing can be defined as a set of computing services offered to individual or businesses users that can be accessed from anywhere at any time over the Internet.
Offered services can be a ready-to-use software application (Software as a Service, SaaS), a platform/environment on which software applications can be built (Platform as a Service, PaaS) or even “raw” hardware resources like servers, networking or data-center space (Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS).