Cloud computing is a new way of managing information technology (IT). Instead of focusing on infrastructure, such as servers, routers, storage, we now focus on services, such as communication, applications, security.
We still need infrastructure, but instead of building big capacities upfront, we can scale IT according to actual needs. Have 1X of processing power today and need 2X tomorrow, no problem; add more capacity on demand. Need to reduce, no problem; reduce costs on the fly.
The technology that spurred Cloud Computing is virtualization. The technology of virtualization has been around for some time, yet it has matured only now. The main proponent of the industry is VMware. The idea behind virtualization is in separation of hardware from software through an additional level of abstraction. In practice this means that the operating system and the applications within the OS do not access the underlying hardware directly anymore, but do this indirectly through the virtual hardware.
This virtualization of the machine means that the machine can be grown or shrunk dynamically. The result: efficiency goes up, costs go down. Significantly. Also, capacity can now be hired instead of owned, i.e. less capital is needed upfront, costs occur in sales. The solutions are universal, meaning that they enable all types of applications which can be delivered to users via virtual desktops anywhere anytime to any device, be it pcs, tablets, smart TVs, mobile phones. Furthermore, provisioning of resources becomes real time, which reduces time to market and again pushes productivity upwards. Last but not least, datatheft protection, antivirus protection and backup can be ensured across whole systems, with no exceptions.
Nevertheless, cloud computing still has a problem. It is cloudy. People somehow don’t get it. And they also don’t know when they should start taking care of it. Well, the point is not in cloud computing at all but in the effects that it will bring. Once these effects will come and hit IT systems everywhere it will already be to late.
Sounds like tsunami computing would be a better name. Maybe people would understand its effects better then. Anyhow, what IT professionals should do about this is to get to know the subject better. And get some help. There are folks around who get the idea already. Find them.