Technology lies at the heart of progress and accordingly its main task is to drive achievement and improvement. The world of digital technology is constantly moving forward, making information more accessible, communication more convenient and data sharing — more secure. Cloud computing services enable users to take advantage of all these at once but it is much more than that.
Put in plain terms, cloud computing encompasses the various services and solutions that can be accessed, transferred, stored and created in real-time over the Internet. Every time you store a picture online or share something on social networking sites, you are using cloud services.
The technical view on cloud is a bit more complex. As IBM defines the cloud, it combines the need for virtualization, standardization and automation with cost and energy efficiency. Apart from providing low costs, it has a number of other advantages like agility, service flexibility and business optimization through alignment and standardized processes among others.
One of the main advantages of cloud computing is its ability to optimize server/storage utilization. While at present most of the companies see average servers/storage utilization of about 20%, cloud computing can increase this figure to 90%. In addition, cloud technology can speed up provisioning from several weeks to minutes. It could also accelerate other aspects of business, such as change management from several months to hours and can reduce the time required for a payback of a new service from years to months. Last, but not least cloud computing can change billing from fixed cost to granular.
Experts and researchers share the view that cloud services are here to stay. According to estimates from technology research firm Gartner, the global cloud computing market in 2012 topped $109 billion, whereas a report from market researcher IDC predicts that global spending on the public cloud services sector would reach almost $100 billion by 2016.