Colwich Computer Club. 

Cloud Computing
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It has been said many times that there is nothing new and that all new inventions are really old things in a new disguise. Cloud Computing is one of those new ideas that fits into this category, as although it has been hailed as the future of computing, many aspects of it have been around for years. Most people are familiar with using the Internet to a greater or lesser degree and put simply, cloud computing is simply working on the internet, on line. Already we are all used to storing many things online on sites such as YouTube for videos and putting our details, diaries and pictures, etc on sites like Facebook. Some people are happily using other online sites for their banking, whilst many computer protection systems automatically use online storage vaults to back up your work, so that your files can be restored after an attack on your computer and your computer files have been corrupted. Cloud computing is all this and only a little more.

Admittedly with cloud computing just about everything is done online so you always need an internet connection to be able to do anything and this can have it's problems, but on the other hand there are many advantages as well.

Perhaps the most obvious advantage is that computers donít need a large hard drive to store all your files on, nor do you need to buy and install lots of expensive programs on your computer as most will be available while you use them online. A few programs will still need to be on your computer such as an internet browser, but these will easily be accommodated on the larger flash memory that is becoming more readily available. This in turn means that smaller cheaper computers will be able to be used for many more things than they can at present. It might well herald in a new age of net-book and tablet computers, which seem to have been in the wings so long, as they completely replace their earlier, larger predecessors. Of course not needing a hard drive will also mean lower power consumption on computers, which in turn will mean a longer battery life. Of course, incidentally, there will be no risk of a hard drive failing as there will be no hard drive!

Many people will have worries about security and the safety of their personal files if they are all stored on line in the cloud. There could be problems if the storage sites get hacked into as already happens from time to time with odd companies and even government sites. However, It is likely that your own existing computer will be compromised from time to time and large commercial sites are going to be far more secure than your own computer.  Another big point on the down side at the moment with doing everything in the cloud, is the problem with connection speeds, because many domestic internet connections are still quite poor. Download speeds are getting better though as more people demand to watch TV online, but upload speeds still leave a lot to be desired especially for things like videos and bigger files such as large pictures, or even spreadsheets. Some gamers already play on line so that they can play against others anywhere in the world instead of being limited to playing against people they know on their own machines. However, many gamers will appreciate being able to play more complex games with the better internet speeds that are becoming available with the newer cabling, especially fibre optic, that is currently being installed in most areas of the country. When everyone has a high speed connection capable of good video quality perhaps we will see the end of the big cumbersome home PC as everyone works in the cloud.