What’s in that “Cloud” (Blog #6)

“The way I understand it, “cloud computing” refers to the bigger picture…basically the broad concept of using the internet to allow people to access technology-enabled services. According to Gartner, those services must be ‘massively scalable’ to qualify as true ‘cloud computing’. So according to that definition, every time I log into Facebook, or search for flights online, I am taking advantage of cloud computing.” – Praising Gaw (2008)

Cloud File Storage, Sync, Backup   

Cloud computing has been a major topic for years, but more and more companies are pushing it as a way to avoid operating system issues. Cloud computing is simply having all of your files and software hosted on a network somewhere. This means that all you need to acces the files and programs is a web browser. These systems work with any web browser. The system does not care what operating system you are using. You can use Windows, or Apple, or Linux. If you can get to the internet, you can get to your files and applications. Most people have already used a cloud system when they check their email with a web mail system. Cable, Verizon, AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo are all web based email systems that you can accces from any computer with a web browser.

The most popular cloud system is Google Apps. With Google Apps, you can create, edit, save, store, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You could work on the file on an Apple computer at work, and then continue working on it on a Windows computer at home. There are other cloud systems out there, such as Zoho and Evernote. Many more companies are developing web apps so that they can have users from any operating system.

Schools should look into more cloud or web based applications in the future to eliminate the issues of compatibility between operating systems. Most web based applications offer offline applications that can run even without an Internet connection as well as a way to save your files to your own computer. The other benefit is that most of these systems are low cost or even free.

As the operating system wars heat up with Windows 7, Apple Snow Leopard and Ubuntu Linux, schools need to make sure that no matter what OS their faculty and students use at home, they can access files and applications at school and home. It also helps avoid the issue of “I forgot my assignment file at home,” or “my printer ran out of ink.” By using the web apps, students could just log into their account at school and print it out. Teachers would also always have their files available to them no matter where they are. In many cases, these new web applications will also save on licensing fees since they are free.

Web based applications and files can also be accessed from smart phones like the iPhone, Palm Pre, Blackberry, and G1. This means that you would have access to your files and applications at any time.

What do you think about these?
What do you think about cloud storage?
Are there other services that you would recommend?

Works Cited

Gaw, P. (2008, July 25). What’s the Difference Between Cloud Computing and SaaS? Retrieved November 6, 2011, from Cloud Computing Journal: http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/612033

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2 thoughts on “What’s in that “Cloud” (Blog #6)

  1. I believe cloud computing is the way of the future. I have done a lot of research on this matter and there are a lot of cool things that are happening on the so called “Internet cloud”. I have even read a story, not too long ago, that we will soon all have terminals in our house that is made up of a keyboard, mouse, screen or touchscreen that we will then buy computer power based on usage like we buy electricity. One of the really cool ways to see this type of technology currently working is with a service called Onlive. This service requires a ton of bandwidth, but it allows you to play very graphic extensive games on computer hardware that shouldn’t be able to run it.

    Here is a YouTube video that talks about cloud gaming using Onlive that will better explain it.

    If you watch that video, this technology is actually very cool, and the more it gets developed the more uses we will be able to use it for.

    The only negative side I can think of when using cloud based services in a school district is with the amount of bandwidth the school has to offer to its students. The more things you access on the cloud the more bandwidth it is going to take and we really need to make sure that our schools network and bandwidth will be able to meet the demands. Here is a great story about what I am talking about:

    For cloud computing, bandwidth to and from the cloud provider is a bottleneck. For some applications, the issue is sheer bandwidth capacity—these applications use or generate very large amounts of data, and the application user may find that there’s just not sufficient bandwidth available to shove the data through, given the network bandwidth made available by appropriate carriers. A term often used for this is “skinny straw,” inspired by the frustration one experiences when trying to suck an extra-thick milkshake through a common beverage straw. The TCO exercise illustrates a different skinny straw—an economic one. For some applications and some users, the bandwidth available may be technically sufficient, but economically unviable (Golden, 2009).

    References

    Golden, B. (2009, August 06). The skinny straw: Cloud computing’s bottleneck and how to address it. Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/article/499137/The_Skinny_Straw_Cloud_Computing_s_Bottleneck_and_How_to_Address_It

  2. I have just recently began using Google Chrome and Google Apps. I am amazed at the amount of technology at your fingertips. I have found many ways to make my life much easier, and I don’t know how I could do with out them now. In today’s society, people are busy and require immediate access to technology and productivity tools and the cloud is the answer to organization.

    http://goo.gl/0S6u

    Cakir, H., Delialioglu, O., Dennis, A. & Duffy, T. (2009). Technology Enhanced Learning Environments for Closing the Gap in Student Achievement Between Regions: Does it Work?. AACE Journal. 17 (4), pp. 301-315. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

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