What and where is the cloud? Are the world in the cloud now? All these are questions frequently asked today. The term ‘cloud computing’ is everywhere. In its simplest terms, cloud computing is storing and accessing programs and data over the web rather than in the computer’s hard drive. The cloud is only a metaphor for the internet, going back to the days of flowcharts as well as presentations that present the huge server-farm infrastructure of the web as nothing but a white, puffy, cumulonimbus cloud, accepting connections, doling out information as it floats.

The cloud is not about the hard drive. Storage and computing means storing data or running programs from the hard drive. Everything needed is physically close, which means accessing data is easy and fast, for that particular computer alone, or others on a local network. Working off the hard drive is how the computer field functioned for decades. Moreover, the cloud is not about having a dedicated NAS or network attached storage server or hardware in residence. Storing data on an office or home network could not be considered as using cloud. In cloud computing, one has to access data or programs over the internet, or at the very least have the data synchronized with other information over the internet. In a large business, one may know all there is to know regarding what’s on the other side of the connection. As an individual user, one may never have an idea of the kind of massive data-processing is going on at the other end. The end result is the same. With online connection, cloud computing could be done anytime, anywhere.

Nowadays, there is a surge in the demand for cloud services. A cloud service is a resource provided over the web. The most common is SaaS or Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service or PaaS as well as the IaaS or Infrastructure-as-a-Service. SaaS is a software distribution model wherein apps are hosted by a service provider or vendor and available to consumers over a network, which typically is the internet. PaaS refers to delivering operating systems and associated services over the web without installation or downloads. IaaS includes outsourcing equipment to be used for supporting operations, which include storage, hardware, networking components and servers. All are made accessible over a network. The three are sometimes referred collectively as the SPI model.

Cloud services are boosting confidence. The verdict is that more and more enterprises are switching over to some kind of cloud service for their computing needs and data storage. These options, in most cases, make sense practically and economically for their requirements. The demand for cost-effective IT solutions, along with increased broadband availability and infrastructure, is providing emerging markets with the largest growth opportunities in terms of cloud services.

The availability and growth of cloud services would play a pivotal role in the restructuring of the global Information Technology landscape. Typically, the largest challenge established markets have in terms of cloud adoption is centered on migration from old physicals systems.Businesses, in particular SMEs have been hesitant to get rid of their existing infrastructure, highlighting concerns on security and loss of control as to where data is stored. For emerging market, not burned by legacy IT infrastructures mean they are ideally situated to leapfrog more mature markets in terms of embracing new technologies, since they do not have the traditional costs related with CapEx budgets. This pattern has been historically seen in mobile business apps and mobile communications. In a similar way, cloud offers a chance for far-sighted organizations to achieve leadership positions.

Cloud computing seems to be an obvious fit, since it could help remove barriers to expensive technology, opening doors for new products and services. The cloud’s main objective is to inspire small business owners, new entrepreneurs, academia and non-profit organizations to share and collaborate knowledge. As more and more companies embrace cloud services across various worldwide regions, the numbers are expected to rise. Also, complementary cloud services are gaining momentum, including the use of a collaboration tools and unified communications that include video conferences, instant messaging and virtual desktop infrastructure.
The market leaders nowadays are also focused intensely on successful implementation and training, as well as ongoing support and advocacy.

The European and Central Asia market is valued at $26.2 billion and is expected to grow by 17.8 percent to $42.9 billion by the year 2018. North America has the biggest SMB cloud service market to date, valued at $36.6 billion, followed by Europe, Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia and Pacific regions, Latin, Caribbean, Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. IaaS commands the largest market share worldwide presently, accounting for $37.8 billion. The figure is expected to rise to $56.2 billion by 2018.

Author's Bio: 

Ritesh Mehta works as a senior Technical Account Manager in a software development company named TatvaSoft Australia based in Melbourne. He specializes in Agile Scrum methodology, Marketing Ops (MRM) application development, SAAS & SOA application development, Offshore & Vendor team management. Also, he is knowledgeable and well-experienced in conducting business analysis, product development, team management and client relationship management.