In other words, cloud computing technology gives businesses and consumers the capacity to use computer applications without having to install software and also allows them to access personal files from anywhere using a computer that is connected to the internet.
Cloud computing derives a number of its characteristics from other computer-based systems. Some of these include client-server, grid computing, autonomic computing, mainframe, peer-to-peer and utility computing. Interestingly, the term “cloud computing” got its inspiration from the use of the cloud symbol to represent, in diagrams and flowcharts, the internet.
Three unique characteristics distinguish cloud service from traditional hosting. First, the services are provided on demand (by the hour or the minute). Secondly, the service is elastic which means that at any given time the consumer can use the service as little or as much as they desire. A cloud may be public such as Amazon Web Services or private. A private cloud by nature is a data centre or a proprietary network that provides service to only a few people. However, whether public or private, the cloud is aimed at providing easy and scalable access to information technology and computing resources.
Traditional business applications such as those provided by Oracle, Microsoft and SAP have turned out to be costly and complex in some cases. Furthermore, these applications need power, office space, bandwidth, storage, servers, networks, and cooling. In order to configure such application, the organization may have always to rely on qualified personnel to install, configure and manage them – not so with cloud computing.
It may well be said that cloud computing generally involves the delivery of hosted services over the World Wide Web. Such services may be divided into three broad categories: SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS