Here is an excerpt of a good, concise explanation of “cloud computing” – a hot topic at the moment – titled Cloud Computing – How Will It Affect You?
“…Another emerging concept that has the power to change how we perform tasks is taking place before us as well, and it is called ‘cloud computing.’ Simply put, it is the ability to use resources and tools via the Internet without actually owning or being near them. The only requirement is to be able to access them….
The concept of utilizing resources in these networks is being adopted by businesses both large and small. These resources are categorized to describe their function, and include:
1.Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
2.Platform as a Service (PaaS)
3.Software as a Service (SaaS)
In the most general terms, Infrastructure as a Service means that companies may no longer need to own and house their own back-end servers and other network computing infrastructure besides an internet-connected PC or laptop in order to maintain business functionality… .
Platform as a Service is also known as ‘cloudware’, and refers to the availability of development tools in creating web applications and services to the end user. Like IaaS, you never ’see’ the inner-workings of this environment unless you are a computer programmer or IT resource, but it exists nonetheless and again affords those who use these tools the ability to reduce costs while running their businesses.
Sofware as a Service is defined as software applications that are subscribed to and accessed only through the Internet, and not installed on local PCs or laptops...These solutions are gaining tremendous popularity, because end users do not need to install, update and maintain software locally – only connect to it and use it when the need arises.
Web 2.0 describes the whole of the social networking movement on the Internet, and includes but is not limited to destinations such as Facebook, MySpace, eHarmony, LinkedIn and Twitter. These sites offer the ability for people all over the world to share common interests, stay connected and learn more about each other – and these sites aren’t just for the young…
The next time you are on the Internet and upload a photograph and use the online tools to modify that picture, you are participating in ‘cloud computing.’ The picture is probably loaded to a site that uses IaaS for their servers, PaaS in order to provide the visual interface in which you modify the photograph, and SaaS applications you’ll use to access your email program and social networking sites in order to send it to or post it for those with whom you would like to share the picture.”