Sunday, November 22, 2009

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Introduction To Cloud Computing | What Is Happening In The Arena Of Cloud Computing

This article provides a snapshot of what is happening in the arena of cloud computing. What are the benefits? Why are businesses embracing it?

There is still plenty to know about it... Like, What does it mean to a business owner or executive? How does it affect the workplace? What are the payoffs and the pitfalls? Is it really ready for "prime time"?

As Computing Evolves, So Does its Jargon Few observers agree on what cloud computing is, except for what the word cloud represents. When geeks draw network diagrams, they often represent the Internet as a cloud. 

Cloud computing, many say, is a form of software-as-a-service. Wikipedia defines software-as-a-service (SaaS) as “a model of software deployment where an application is hosted as a service provided to customers across the Internet. By eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer's own computer, SaaS alleviates the customer's burden of software maintenance, ongoing operation, and support.”

The Market Landscape
The market for cloud computing applications is just beginning to heat up. Consumer applications, such as tax preparation services, sites to maintain photos and create albums, and social networking sites, have blazed the trail for successful SaaS business applications. As cloud computing matures, users are finding that it's much more than just a way to offload desktop applications to the Internet.

Cloud computing enhances the framework companies need to foster greater cooperation and collaboration among their work teams—which may include employees at multiple locations as well as advisers, suppliers, and partners outside a company’s firewall.


In addition, cloud computing opens up innovative ways to use rich-media capabilities, such as integrating video into documents or presentations. Web-based applications make it easy to publish the results of a single source file in many locations. For example, a chart containing “company results” can easily be shared in a memo to executives, a presentation to shareholders,and in an announcement to employees. Any changes to the source spreadsheet automatically flow to the multiple instances of the published charts.

Mashups provide a quick way to aggregate business or consumer services with different data types from multiple sources into integrated applications. Many map-based services integrate business data, such as real estate listings, with the mashup facilities of Google Maps or other cartographic databases. Amazon, the world's most successful online shopping site, uses mashup technologies to aggregate product descriptions with partner sites and user profiles, commentaries, and images. Travel sites, such as Travelocity, Kayak, Matador, and Travature, integrate standard content (such as airfare search engines, travel guides, maps, and hotel reviews) with comments, ratings, and images from users.

In the business arena, cloud computing is gaining momentum as companies seek applications that are easier and cheaper to implement, use, and maintain. Providers are introducing a steady stream of cloudbased services for enterprise resource planning (ERP), web conferencing, data backup, and other key applications. Some cloud applications come from established companies, such as Salesforce.com, a leader in customer relationship management applications. These companies use cloud computing as a competitive weapon against old-line companies selling conventional products and services. Intacct, for example, is an on-demand financial management and accounting system.

"A really interesting and perhaps counter-intuitive phenomenon is that there is a huge demand for SaaS services from enterprises that are firmly committed to the on-premise model," observed Phil Wainewright, ZDNet's SaaS expert. "Perhaps even more surprising is that IT departments are some of the most avid buyers of SaaS services — and they’re turning to SaaS to help them manage their on-premise infrastructure." Security services, email management and security, Help Desk and service management are among the applications that IT managers are handing over to external SaaS providers, Wainewright noted.
Wainewright also points out that SaaS is a made-to-order antidote for shrinking capital budgets during economic downturns. He wrote: "... cash-strapped businesses will find the pay-as-you-go SaaS model highly appealing — especially if it helps deliver operational cost savings at the same time.”
A survey by ScanSafe, a SaaS provider of security services, supports this thesis. The survey of 300 IT managers found that 78% of them believe economic uncertainty makes SaaS more attractive.

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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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