Within the past 10 years our societies technological advantages have been somewhat space age like, even alien like characteristics. Technologies, which ten years ago only existed in our dreams but yet, have become reality. Things like, the revolutionary iPhone and its almost seamless touch-screen tech; as well as the new advancements in our cultures most prized possession, The Internet. In this subject-based paper, I will take a closer look into a fairly new emerging technology, which is simply referred to as…Cloud Technology.
The synopsis will cover, what and how cloud technology works, its history, advantages and disadvantages, and its impact on the information technology / system world. What is Cloud Computing Technology? Cloud Computing is an Internet based OS, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like a public utility according to Wikipedia. Also Experiencing MIS textbook defines a “Cloud” as, a computing service that provides processing, data, and specific application functions over the Internet.
These Clouds can be accessed via a client’s computer, Smartphone, or PDA device that is able to connect to Internet, which mimics an access portal to specific information. A good example of this would be when you access a video through YouTube, the user will not know which server is being used to locate and stream the video, but he or she will know the information request is located somewhere among the Cloud. The idea of this massive database / server came about in the 1960’s, J. C. R. Licklider, had the initial idea for what he referred to today’s Cloud as…The Intergalactic Computer Network. Who was also responsible for enabling the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1969. His dream was to have everyone in the world to be interconnected to databases, programs, and other operating systems from anyone spot in the world. Other computer experts attribute the event of the Cloud computing concept to computer scientist John McCarthy who proposed the idea of computation being delivered as a public utility, similar to the service bureaus, which date back to the 1960’s as well.
The service bureaus are companies that provide services for a specific fee; the term is usually used to refer to businesses in the technological finance fields. Most common contemporary technologies that support the service bureau business model are SAAS (Software as a Service) and SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). SAAS is a business model whereby companies (such as Google, Amazon. com, and eBay) provide services based on their software, rather than providing software as a product (by means of software usage licenses). Software as a Service is an example of Web 2. 0. SOA, is a type of processing philosophy / language that advocates that computing systems use a standard method to declare the services they provide and the interface by which those services can be requested and used. Web services are an implementation of SOA. Pioneers at the forefront of the Cloud computing technology is Apple, of all companies have recently redone its . Mac cloud computing server and coin it the MobileMe technology. MobileMe is a push / fetch online storage, email, calendar, data, and document cloud that’s runs seamlessly with the Apple iTunes and Mac operating systems.
How Cloud computing work, think of the user as a comic strip character where all the thoughts, remarks, and comments are stored in the Cloud above their head. Then the character could go back at any given time and access those thought, from anywhere within that comic strip. The diagram below will paint a more technical picture of how the Cloud can be incorporated with different Internet surf-able device such as, computers, Smartphone’s, and PDA’s. Cloud computing has had an immense impact on productivity in the e-commerce arena, especially in regards to business-2-consumer (B2C) merchant and non-merchant companies.
Typical information system for a B2C provides application or virtual storefront by which consumers enter and manage their orders in the Cloud / Network. E-Commerce is the electronic purchasing and selling of goods and services over a private and or public computer network, which is usually Internet based. For instance, you as a customer would select an item online with the network, and then through this network would affect the purchase. This transaction is also known as a Clearinghouse or electronic exchange.
Majorly all e-commerce applications utilize the three-tier architecture, which can be seen in Figure 8-5 of the Experiencing MIS textbook. The three tiers are made up of a user tier, server tier, and a database tier. The user tier consists of computers that have browsing capabilities that request and process web pages, and other database through the Cloud technology, as well as Web 2. 0. The server tier also utilizes computers that run Web servers to generate Web pages, Cloud locations, and other data in response to request from browsers. These servers also process application programs as well.
Most importantly the database tier is in place to run the database management systems (DBMS), and receive and process structured query language (SQL) to receive and store data. As effective as e-commerce is, there are some major setbacks that plague the industry. Some unfavorable characteristics are channel conflicts, pricing issues, logistical expenses, and customer-service expenses. Just about every Internet savvy device uses some sort of cloud computing technology. But there are some over all advantages and disadvantages to this system that over time could hamper its growth or propel it exponentially.
Lets start with the apparent advantages of this technology. Some advantages are cost, which supposedly reduced capital expenditure to operational expenditure that would lower entry barriers over time. Reliability, which makes the computing cloud suitable for improved continuity throughout a business using this element of technology, and would lessen the chances of a business completely loosing pertinent data. Security and Devices are also another advantage, because of centralization of data, increases security focused resources where certain sensitive data is concerned.
Devices on the other hand, enable users to access the system from anywhere a web browsing device is operational. Some of the most common disadvantages of cloud computing materialize themselves in many aspects. Smaller businesses take advantage of Cloud technology more so than a larger corporation, because of trust issues between the storage provider (Cloud facilitator), and the companies. Another issue that also comes along is, even if the company is able to collaborate with a cloud facilitator, security issues become a major problem for those corporation intrusting dire information with these cloud storage elements.
Even with these issues still prevalent companies still resort to cloud computing as a sort of third string quarterback. But there are still fears that remain even in a third party storage situation. Three major fears with third party data storage is the threat of hacking, issues with an inability to access the server where data is being stored. The possibility the cloud storage provider could shut down permanently, which ultimately would make the data regardless of its importance, irretrievable.