Cloud computing has been one of the biggest buzz words over the last 12 months or so. Everyone has been talking about it for along time within the technology sector.
But it is becoming clear that it is not just a buzz that will shortly disappear. In fact cloud computing as a concept is becoming more and more important as time goes on.
So What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a fairly ambiguous term and different people understand it in different ways – thats sort of the typical scenario in IT if you think about it – the tech guys see everything one way, and everyone else sees it in another.
To the average non-IT person, cloud computing tends to be taken quite literally – the term puts in mind all of your precious data floating around in the ether somewhere with no real home and with no one really knowing where exactly it is at any one point in time.
Of course that definition is not quite right. the reason its called cloud computing is due to the nature that the data and services can be stored anywhere but rather than that necessarily being the case, its more the principal that the data is hardware Independent.
Software Defined Computing
Software defined computing is a term that has spurred from cloud computing, they are however very closely related and in fact the later term makes the concept of the former slightly easier to understand.
Cloud computing has seen software taking over the core management of computer systems and it is this shift that has moved systems away from hardware dependence.
In other words, any particular service that is running on “a computer” is no longer necessarily limited to the hardware available on a single computer, but rather it can, if needed, move between computers or in fact use the processing or storage capabilities of multiple computers at the same time to achieve its goal.
This is made possible by complex software being used to manage everything – rather than having expensive switches and storage controllers more and more of the typical tasks involved in computing are being handled by software.
This has lead the hardware itself to become irrelevant – as long as the software is running on the system, it doesn’t matter what hardware is used – computing resources can be distributed amongst many servers leading not only to much greater computing power but also a much higher level of redundancy – if a computer or computers failed within the system, it is almost irrelevant because the software can simply reroute the tasks that were being handled by that computer elsewhere.