What is cloud computing?
Understanding cloud computing applications
How cloud computing can benefit the corporate world
Cloud computing applications have eliminated the need to add more computing hardware to data centers
In the movie “Apollo 13,” flight director Gene Krantz responds to the unfolding emergency with calm instructions to his flight controller staff in mission control and a request for “another computer up in the RTCC.” This request activates additional computing power in NASA’s Real-Time Computer Complex to handle the extra workload anticipated to help the crippled spacecraft return to earth. At the time, extra computing power could only be obtained by firing up more computers within the internal network. Imagine the capabilities and power they would have had if they had access to the computing resources available in the cloud today.
One of the chief advantages of cloud computing is the availability of additional computing power through the cloud for additional user consumption. With complex computing being handled by servers throughout the cloud, applications can run on smaller devices instead of powerful and expensive workstation computers. This opens up a whole new world of personal and professional computing capabilities that were previously unavailable without the benefits of the cloud. This article will look further into cloud computing applications and how they can be leveraged in all areas of our lives.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a system of servers, storage, programs, applications, and development tools networked together through the internet instead of a more traditional internal computer network. The resources of the cloud relieve individual users and corporations of the hardware and software burdens necessary to maintain a fully contained computer network. Cloud computing applications refer specifically to the computing power available through the cloud. For instance:
- Users can run complex programs through cloud computing applications without the need for powerful workstation hardware.
- These programs and applications can either be remote in the cloud or installed on a user’s device.
- While the local device will host and display the program or application, the heavy lifting of computing will take place within the cloud.
Cloud Computing in Our Daily Lives
There are many examples of cloud computing applications already in use around us. Consider the following:
- Banking applications on your iPhone
- E-readers on your portable device
- Medical data tablets used in your doctor’s office
These examples have become so commonplace that we take them for granted, but the truth is that what we have listed here barely scratches the surface. And, in each of these cases, the local application relies on the power in the cloud for actual computing. Although cloud computing applications can use software stored in the cloud, it is not the same as cloud software. There are some notable differences to software as a service (SaaS) applications, which we will look at next.
Cloud computing applications have put the power of online banking in your hands
How Is a Cloud Computing Application Different From Cloud Software?
The term “cloud software” is used primarily to describe SaaS applications. These applications are typically invoked from a browser, and their computing, software, and data are largely held in the cloud. SaaS applications include streaming entertainment, shopping, and other browser-based tools.
Cloud computing applications can be considered more of a hybrid computing operation. Although the application is run locally, computing and data storage mostly use cloud resources. An example of this is banking applications. Many financial institutions provide mobile applications that can be installed on any smartphone or tablet. Although local to the mobile device, these applications connect the user to the banking computing system and data within the cloud for immediate access. Another example is an E-reader application on a mobile device. Once again, the application is local to the device, but the cloud provides the computing power and data to maintain the user’s subscription and book lists. Although data may be downloaded temporarily for local use, most of it is handled through the cloud.
Cloud computing applications use the cloud for their primary computing power regardless of where the software is located. The cloud becomes the engine of the application, allowing for complex operations to be performed on simple devices. This configuration also allows applications to quickly increase or decrease the amount of computing resources they need for the task at hand. Elastic computing like this allows for processing, memory, and data storage resources to change at will without having to plan for peak usage or disrupt ongoing work to reconfigure the computer network. It also saves corporations from having to invest in additional computer hardware and networking or pay for overload hardware that mostly sits idle. Another advantage of cloud computing applications is the ability for workers to do their job remotely without the need for workstation setups at home. Next, we’ll look further into how cloud computing applications can benefit corporations with their processing needs.
Medical teams rely on the power of cloud computing applications
The Benefits of Cloud Computing in the Corporate World
There are many useful applications for cloud computing in the business world. Whether by SaaS applications or cloud computing applications, professionals from all industries can enhance their processes and reduce their overhead by utilizing the cloud. The following examples show how cloud computing applications are already benefiting different industries:
- Medical data and devices with results available to doctors and nurses through portable devices like tablets.
- Inventory management and tracking systems with data access through portable devices.
- Work in progress and product data management (PDM) systems.
Another industry that will particularly benefit from cloud computing is original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) developing electronic devices. Saddled with the need to support multiple EDA systems and the hardware they run on, these businesses can save time and money by using cloud-based applications.
Cloud Computing allows engineers to access the different tools they need, from schematic capture all the way through PCB layout, including different simulation and analysis tools. That way, engineers can focus on the products they are designing without the burden of installing and configuring their systems or maintaining expensive hardware to support their work.
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