The term Cloud Computing has been used to describe a range of online services, as well as additional computing capacity that resides somewhere out there. Defining it is tricky but not impossible.
Everybody is sure that cloud computing is key to the future of IT, but people often seem unsure quite what it is. In fact, it’s an umbrella term for a number of different trends, all involving the internet and it’s potential to simplify the way we use computers and extend their capabilities.
In its most basic fundamental form, cloud is the internet as a business or consumer platform. Cloud introduces a whole host of new services, consumer and business, that exist ‘on demand’. It is the next stage of the evolution of the internet.
The Cloud has been out there longer that we realise. Well-known internet-based services like Gmail and Hotmail (founded 1996) are considered cloud services. Also any computing resources companies can rent or subscribe to, such as Dropbox, or replacements for IT systems they may already have running in their office or datacenter fall under the cloud banner as well.