What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the practice of using remote servers on the internet to manage, store and process data instead of using a personal computer. Cloud computing is a general term that is better divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Software-as-a-Service.  IaaS (or utility computing) follows a traditional utilities model, providing servers and storage on demand with the consumer paying accordingly. PaaS allows for the construction of applications within a provider’s framework, like Google’s App Engine. SaaS enables customers to use an application on demand via a browser. A common example of cloud computing is Gmail, where you can access your stored data from any computer with internet access.

Cloud computing can allow a user to access applications and data from any computer at any time since they are stored on a remote server. It also reduces the need for companies to purchase top-of-the-line servers and hardware or hire people to run them since it is all maintained by a third party. Software licenses do not have to be purchased for every user as the cloud stores and runs the software remotely. Data can also be stored with cloud computing so companies do not have to house servers and databases themselves. By centralizing memory, bandwidth, storage & processing in an off-site environment for a fee, cloud computing can significantly reduce costs.

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