Cloud computing provides users a way to change the way they use computers forever—just as the Internet heralded a new frontier in personal computing, so too will computing in the Internet cloud. Back in 2006, a watershed event occurred when Amazon launched its EC2 or Elastic Compute Cloud. Ever since then, cloud computing went underway and various providers have embraced this computing methodology wherein using computer services is now comparable to ever-present pay-as-you-use utilities like electricity and water. At this point, most anyone can scroll through a website menu, get his credit card, and pay as much computer horsepower as he needs at a fixed rate.
Back in 2006, you can get to use Linux for about 10 cents per hour; back in 2008, you can use Windows for 12.5 cents an hour as well. The cloud computing revolution has begun, and it continues to evolve and spread even as we speak. Configuring the virtual machines (VMs) that run these applications and systems is a relative snap, and once you're done with your task, they'll disappear just as fast. It's a corporation's dream to finally gain computing benefits without wasting thousands of dollars on buying or upgrading PCs, hiring administrators to fix these non-virtual machines whenever they get broken, and so forth. Cloud computing is fast, clean, and efficient computing that maximizes your investment.
Superior scalability is also a readily apparent advantage that cloud computing has over traditional personal computing. Whenever your needs grow, all you need to do is to put in more dollars into the meters. Cloud computing can grow and provide you all the computational capabilities you need as you need it; once you don't need it anymore, you can abandon it just as easily, which enables you to avoid redundancies and wasted expenses on things you don't require any longer. For example, Amazon itself handles the troubles that usually burden companies in today's information age, such as network upkeep and supervising your own data center.
Amazon's data centers are presently abuzz with the thousands of humming, blinking servers that house its VMs. Yes, not everything is completely "in the cloud" at present; there are tangible servers that handle the virtual machines that you can get at a pay-per-use basis. Nonetheless, it's a huge boon for companies to avail of this natural evolution of widespread virtualization because they're cheap, efficient, easily accessible, and help mitigate costs of, say, buying their own separate servers that will more likely than not become obsolete in barely two years' or even six months' time.
Cloud computing has everything you'd expect out of personal computing—from storage services to data access, software usage to other miscellaneous tasks—with the added bonus of not needing end-user know-how of the configuration or physical location of the system that provides such services. Nevertheless, complete virtualization also includes the risk of cyber attacks, malware invasions, and other dangers from the Internet; a fundamental cloud computing flaw that hasn't even been solved until now.
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