The technology that I feel has created a paradigm shift and is now as well as further in the future is Cloud Computing. By definition Cloud computing is s a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e. g. , networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. Mell & Grance, 2011) Cloud computing is one of the leading buzz terms in the world of IT today. Seemingly every possible solution has been enhanced with the mere addition of the word “cloud”. Cloud computing refers to applications and services offered over the Internet. These services are offered from data centers all over the world, which collectively are referred to as the "cloud. " This metaphor represents the intangible, yet universal nature of the Internet. The idea of the "cloud" simplifies the many network connections and computer systems involved in online services.
In fact, many network diagrams use the image of a cloud to represent the Internet. This symbolizes the Internet's broad reach, while simplifying its complexity. Any user with an Internet connection can access the cloud and the services it provides. Since these services are often connected, users can share information between multiple systems and with other users. Examples of this technology include online backup services, social networking services, and personal data services such as Apple's MobileMe.
Cloud computing also includes online applications, such as those offered through Microsoft Online Services. Hardware services, such as redundant servers, mirrored websites, and Internet-based clusters are also examples of cloud computing. ("Technology terms," 2009) In its own way, “paradigm shift” has lost much of its meaning over the past twenty years through overuse. Each year, changes in technology are heralded as paradigm shifts, changes that will alter the IT landscape.
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There are two keys to this definition. The first is the recognition of value produced from an IT environment. Value is less clearly defined than a more concrete metric like cost or performance, but value multiplies throughout an environment and increases with the expansion of the scope and reach of systems. Reduced cost for the same eventual value is a plus, but mere lower cost does not create the dramatic value required in the definition of a paradigm shift. The second key is the recognition that the value must be accrued by the eventual users in an organization.
Once again, allowing IT departments to fulfill their mandates better or for less expense is certainly positive, but without the demand for value driven by consumers of IT services, you will not see the sort of changes required to classify an innovation as a paradigm shift. Cloud computing does, when properly implemented, deliver vastly more value to IT consumers, it does in fact, fit the definition of a paradigm shift. And cloud computing will, over the next 3-5 years, dramatically change the landscape of information technology.
Because of this, an errant choice could not only waste money but, more importantly, lead you down a detour that will delay your adoption of cloud computing and leave you at a competitive disadvantage (Greenwald, 2011) A paradigm shift can produce a tidal wave of increased value from IT resources, but nothing comes for free. In order to get these great accumulations of new value, IT departments may have to modify the way they think about, design and implement systems.
To understand this, you only need think back to the dawn of graphical user interfaces, where old applications were created with a “GUI” (Graphical User Interface) interface, but ended up as just a bit of makeup on an earlier generation of technology. The new look did not produce new value, and were fairly rapidly rejected by consumers. In the same way, the great benefits of the cloud do not naturally accrue by simply shifting your IT stack to an outsourced provider.
You may, for the sake of expediency or organizational necessity, choose to follow this route to get some advantages without extensive modifications to your existing solutions. (Greenwald, 2011) There are however advantages and disadvantages to cloud computing. Some of the advantages are; Convenience, Security, Backups, Collaboration and being environmentally friendly. Convenience meaning you can access your data anywhere you can connect to the Internet. Security being that most companies use industrial level security software and practices which make it harder for hackers to get at your data.
That’s harder, but not impossible. Backups being, you have a backup of your data in case your local computer crashes. Collaboration being that with your permission, others can access, view, and modify your documents. Environmentally friendly means it takes fewer resources to cloud compute, thus saving energy. Some businesses take it a step further and incorporate cloud computing into their telecommuting strategies. (Morris, 2011) The disadvantages to cloud computing are; security breaches, outages, storage limits, slow speeds, and limited features.
Security breaches meaning that remote server security makes it harder, but not impossible, for hackers to reach your data. If there is a compromise of the server or servers where your data is stored, your personal information may be exposed to the world. There’s also a good chance that more than just your information may be affected, we're talking possibly millions of other users. Outages meaning, have you ever been unable to access your email due to your provider being down? Now, imagine if you needed a document for an important business meeting or presentation and your storage provider’s site was down.
Believe me it happens, and it happens at the most inconvenient times. Storage limits meaning that while your local hard drive may be able to hold 500GB or more of data, unfortunately a remote server may only allow you to freely store about 5GB. If you want more room, you’ll have to pay. Still, even with a paid account, it can’t begin to touch the amount of room you have locally. There also may be a limit on the size of the data that can be stored. Slow speeds of course being uploading and downloading of large documents may take a long time.
Limited features being that if you use remote software that’s provided by the storage service to manipulate and modify your data, it usually lacks the features of a program running locally. (Morris, 2011) To understand exactly how cloud computing works, let’s consider that the cloud consists of layers -mainly the back end layers and the front end layers. The front layers are the parts you see and interact with. When you access your profile on your Facebook account for example, you are using software running on the front end of the cloud.
The back end consists of the hardware and the software architecture that delivers the data you see on the front end. Clouds use a network layer to connect users’ end point devices, like computers or smart phones, to resources that are centralized in a data center. Users can access the data centre via a company network or the internet or both. Clouds can also be accessed from any location, allowing mobile workers to access their business systems on demand. Applications running on the cloud take advantage of the flexibility of the computing power available.
The computers are set up to work together so that it appears as if the applications were running on one particular machine. This flexibility is a major advantage of cloud computing, allowing the user to use as much or as little of the cloud resources as they want at short notice, without any assigning any specific hardware for the job in advance. I think the easiest way to explain this was through Wikipedia “End users access cloud-based applications through a web browser or a light-weight desktop or mobile application while the business software and user's data are stored on servers at a remote location.
Proponents claim that cloud computing allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance, and enables IT to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand. ” (Wikipedia, 2012) Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility like the electricity grid over a network typically the Internet. Cloud computing is as described above and should be seen as such.
It can be a benefit if used properly but make no mistake about it, it needs to be configured correctly to maximize each and every benefit. I gave 5 pros and cons to using the cloud computing but there are more and all should be explored before committing to the use of cloud computing.
- Mell, P. & Grance, T. (2011). Retrieved from US Department of Commerce website: http://csrc. nist. gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145. pdf (Mell & Grance, 2011)
- Greenwald, R. (2011, November). Creating value with the oracle database cloud service. Retrieved from ttp://www. oracle. com/technetwork/database/database-cloud/public/extreme-productivity-wp-1844125. pdf
- (Greenwald, 2011) Technology terms. (2009, April 23). Retrieved from http://www. techterms. com/definition/cloud_computing ("Technology terms," 2009)
- Morris, K. (2011, Spetember 26). Five advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing. Retrieved from http://www. examiner. com/article/five-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-computing (Morris, 2011)
- Wikipedia. (2012, August 13). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Cloud_computing (Wikipedia, 2012)
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