Last week I explained the ‘iffy’ side to cloud computing. This week I want to talk about the good side of it. Mind you, for a new technology to mature it is always useful to see both sides to its adoption and the more it is discussed and addressed the better the technology it gets. Personally, I think cloud computing is well on its way to becoming a steady platform for future applications.
Lower computer costs. For the average PC user, this is music to their ears! You don’t need a high-powered and high-priced computer to run cloud computings web-based applications. Since applications run in the cloud, not on the desktop PC, your desktop PC doesn’t need the processing power or hard disk space demanded by traditional desktop software.
Improved performance. With fewer bloated programs hogging your computer’s memory, you’ll see better performance from your PC. Put simply, computers in a cloud computing system boot and run faster because they have fewer programs and processes loaded into memory.
Reduced software costs. Instead of purchasing expensive software applications, you can get most of what you need for free. That’s right—most cloud computing applications today, such as the Google Docs suite, are totally free. That’s a lot better than paying expensive prices for original copies of software such as Windows and Microsoft Office.
Improved document format compatibility. You don’t have to worry about the documents you create on your machine being compatible with other users’ applications or operating systems. In a world where Word 2007 documents can’t be opened on a computer running Word 2003, all documents created by web-based applications can be read by any other user accessing that application. There are no format incompatibilities when everyone is sharing docs and apps in the cloud.
Unlimited storage capacity. Now how to beat that offer! Cloud computing offers virtually limitless storage. Your computer’s current 200 gigabyte hard drive is peanuts compared to the hundreds of petabytes (a million gigabytes) available in the cloud. Whatever you need to store, you can.
Latest version availability. Another document-related advantage of cloud computing: When you edit a document at home, that edited version is what you see when you access the document at work. The cloud always hosts the latest version of your documents; as long as you’re connected, you’re never in danger of having an outdated version.
Device independence. Finally, here’s the ultimate cloud computing advantage: You’re no longer glued to a single computer or network. Change computers, and your existing applications and documents follow you through the cloud.
Move to a portable device, and your apps and docs are still available. There’s no need to buy a special version of a program for a particular device, or to save your document in a device-specific format. Your docs and their apps are the same no matter what computer or other device you’re using.