When it comes to new ideas, the world of computers seems to have one weekly, if not daily. Some of these ideas are a little ahead of their time, while others just downright flop. Cloud computing is one idea that was ahead of its time. The idea of program sharing has been around as long as the internet. In 1960, the idea of sharing software services over the internet was given some serious consideration. With the lack of speed and capability that the web had at the time, it was just not feasible. Over the years, this concept has been revisited. Now that we have lightning fast servers that can operate at incomprehensible speeds and effectiveness, the thought of sharing these programs as a service may have a rather large impact on the future of computing. In the ’90’s this idea was tried again with a little success. It was then that ASP’s (Application Service Provider) were born. This was basically a way to share high cost programs between several people to lighten the load on the pocket book. By charging a fraction of the cost of the application, you could pay for a top dollar program on a bargain budget. This was sort of a time share for computer software. This would still only allow access to the programs over a small network and caused some lag with the slower dial up connections of the time. Now that there is no real lag or interruption to a connection, the idea of cloud computing may be able to finally take flight.
For the average person, this may not be a needed or desired reality just yet, but there are some very intense applications in which this may truly change the computing world. This change is likely going to come to fruition this year, not just this decade. For the “power” users out there that are designing new age programs and applications, this is truly a gift from God. With so many different platforms and devices emerging and all competing with each other, it is very difficult to keep up with the latest SDK (software development kit) or IDE (integrated development environment). There are a couple sites that are near launching (late January to early February) that will run the latest IDE for you. Instead of bogging down your hard drive with countless emulators and programming environments, you can just go online and do your work through the browser. This has a lot of advantages for the open source world. Many of these sites will have an area to post your source code for anyone to use, alter, or enhance. This will result in dramatic improvement to many of the applications that are out there. This technology will also allow for developers to create applications for any platform. There would be no more need to run the Mac OSX to program iPhone apps, or .NET Mobile to program for the Microsoft Phone. Any developer can program any application for any platform just by changing websites.
Cloud computing is not just for the developer though. Any business that uses a certain software can benefit from this idea. For instance, if a small business only occasionally uses a software suite, they can go online and pay a fee per use or even a subscription fee for the program. For someone that only uses Power Point two or three times a year, they can pay for the amount of times they use the program instead of hundreds of dollars for Office. Everyone from major corporations to the casual user can benefit from this type of system. No matter what you need, there would be a server that would offer it to you for a considerably smaller amount of cash.
Now that you can see the benefits of this emerging technology you can begin to understand the need for this system. There are still more advances being researched and implemented to this as well. In the very near future (I would guess 2-3 years), the internet will no longer be a wealth of knowledge, but one giant collaboration of useful programs that you can access at will. The true benefits of these advances is the fact that you will no longer need large hard drives. Sharing of memory and drive space is another future benefit of this method. It would effectively combine the world’s hardware into one giant super computer. You would still maintain your own private sections of the cloud, or create your own cloud of computers sharing their power, for your personal files. You would maintain all of the security while adding speed and capabilities of a much larger computer. The person should always monitoring best cloud storage for the security of the large computer. The memory of the hard disk should not drain away due to excessive storage. All the things should be considered properly.
There are so many benefits and products that can be created with this new wave of technology. Without the need for a bulky hardware setup, you would be able to use a wearable PC. Small screens embedded in a pair of glasses with a voice activated user interface and a “tower” consisting of a couple computer chips discreetly hidden inside your jacket or shirt would replace any netbook and several laptops. The possibilities and capabilities of cloud computing will start to emerge rapidly in today’s high tech world. There is no end to the things that can be created for use with your cloud. By merging whole networks into one massive super computer, the possibilities are endless. Trust me, you will see a lot of things emerge from the clouds before the summer is over. Next year’s Christmas will be even more interesting for any tech junkie.