Transition and Revolution: Cloud Computing Ushering In Web 3.0?

Reuters.com published this deansguide article July 17, 2008

Christopher Barnatt is the author of explainingcomputers.com and Associate Professor of Computing and Organizations in Nottingham University Business School. His series explaining computers, Web 2.0, and Cloud Computing allow both novice learners and experts the opportunity to add information to their own knowledge base. Barnatt’s style of delivering his messages is unpretentious, completely thorough, and very approachable.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing according to Christopher is where “data, software applications, or computer processing power are accessed from a “cloud” of online resources.”

1. Cloud Computing permits individual users to access their data and applications from any device.

2. Businesses can reduce their “capital” costs by purchasing software and hardware as a “utility” service rather than buying the technologies outright

SaaS aka Software As A Service

“Cloud computing is closely associated with Web 2.0 and a key element of both trends is the emergence of online applications aka SaaS.” SaaS allows small businesses to access the same computing power and applications as large corporations without having to spend giant sums of money to own these technologies

HaaS aka Hardware As A Service

Hardware as a service allows businesses to purchase “computer processing capacity” over the web.

Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud” service allows users to pick and choose from a ala carte menu the services and storage products necessary for them to perform their tasks online at the highest cost savings available

Google’sApp Engine” service allows developers to run web applications on Google’s infrastructure

HaaS Advantages Amazon EC2 aka Elastic Compute Cloud

1. Elastic: allows users to increase or decrease their hardware requirements within minutes

2. Flexible: because each user can choose the specification of each “individual instance” of computing power purchased

3. Inexpensive: no capital investment (purchasing outright technologies) is required

4. Reliable: EC2 uses Amazon’s “proven data centers” and “network infrastructure

Trend For Cloud Computing

The trend of Cloud Computing has been compared, according to Christopher, to the “development of the electricity network 100 years ago.” At that time companies stopped having to create their own electricity and were able to “plug into a national electricity grid.”

Cloud Computing represents the same model as individuals and business organizations can connect to a Cloud of computing resources.

Utility Computing aka Cloud Computing

No software installations are necessary. No hardware installations are necessary. No capital expenditures.

Cloud Computing Devices: What are they and what are the benefits?

1. Low Power, Low Cost

2. “Cloud Book” a device that has been dubbed a “computing appliance”

a.) Easy to use, easy to learn, ready to use

What Does This All Represent?

1. Return to Centralization: An age where “data, applications, and processing power are largely remote from the user interface device.”

Analysis: This levels the playing field between small and large business, creates less drain on user assets, and it signals a collaboration of assets and knowledge on a world wide scale

2. Centralized resources could spell “doom” for the Microsoft business model where licensing and software products are pushed out to individual boxes. The era of loading software to an individual machine, maintaining the most current software operating systems, purchasing upgrades, and being forced to make expenditures on new software when the old software was still highly serviceable are going to be over