Computing in the Cloud versus Cloud Computing

Lately, we are seeing the term Cloud Computing everywhere. What is Cloud Computing and how does it differ from “Computing in the Cloud”?

Most of us have been “Computing in the Cloud” for years. We use a wide variety of on-line services such as search, email, on-line shopping, on-line banking, social networking, etc. These services are all examples of computing services that are delivered to users via the internet, WWW or the “Cloud”.

Cloud Computing refers to something different and can be defined as: Ultra-available, virtually limitless compute capability that can easily grow or shrink (elastic), is easy to set-up and is paid for with a pay as you go model.

In the early days of Computing in the Cloud, the main service offered was browser based search. As the demand for search grew, more and more people used Google and Yahoo and they quickly became household names. After people found the information they were searching for, they wanted to share that information and Email services became the next big growth spurt. At the same time, Amazon and eBay began to offer the ability to purchase goods, banks started to provide on-line banking services and Social Networking services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and were offered.

The demand for these services grew at an unbelievable rate. Today, Google is said to process billions of transactions a day and Face-book has over 500 million users.

In order to meet demand, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and the other major service providers developed highly available computer infrastructures with enormous capacities to handle demand. To make their own lives easier, they developed automated software tools to manage, update and deploy their vast numbers of servers. Google is said to have over 1 million computers to support its growing list of Cloud services.

As these automated server management services matured, several service providers thought that end users might like similar capabilities and Cloud Computing was born. Amazon was the first service provider to offer a Cloud Computing service, now called Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Although Computing in the Cloud and Cloud Computing are different, they have much in common with each other. Most Computing in the Clouds services are provided to end users using Cloud Computing infrastructure capabilities to handle the enormous demand.

So, from here on in, I will refer to either of these services as “Cloud” services.

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