Cloud computing involves deploying groups of remote servers and software networked that allow centralized data storage and online access to computer services or resources. Clouds can be classified as public, private or hybrid.
The criticisms about it are mainly focused on its social implications. This happens when the owner of the remote servers is a person or organization other than the user, as their interests may point in different directions, for example, the user may wish that his or her information is kept private, but the owner of the remote servers may want to take advantage of it for their own business.
Cloud computing exhibits the following key characteristics:
- Agility improves with users’ ability to re-provision technological infrastructure resources.
- Maintenance of cloud computing applications is easier, because they do not need to be installed on each user’s computer and can be accessed from different places.
- Performance is monitored, and consistent and loosely coupled architectures are constructed using web services as the system interface.
- Productivity may be increased when multiple users can work on the same data simultaneously, rather than waiting for it to be saved and emailed. Time may be saved as information does not need to be re-entered when fields are matched, nor do users need to install application software upgrades to their computer.
- Reliability improves with the use of multiple redundant sites, which makes well-designed cloud computing suitable for business continuity and disaster recovery.
- Scalability and elasticity via dynamic (“on-demand”) provisioning of resources on a fine-grained, self-service basis in near real-time without users having to engineer for peak loads.