Originally Posted by Jinto
It is basically the intra/internet based version of mainframe computing (an old concept with a brand new hyped up buzz word).
Or put it into a context that people might understand better, if I understand cloud computing properly, take virtualization and scale it to stupidly huge proportions. A smaller-scale version of this can be done using VMware's Virtual Infrastructure series of software, but sites like Microsoft's Azure and Amazon's EC2 to name a couple, take this idea and scale it to gargantuan heights.
Cloud computing as a concept has some ups and downs.
- You're only using what you need, i.e. you don't have to worry about paying electric bills for servers left on all the time, working or idle; connectivity, whether your pipe is saturated or completely vacant; whatever. You only pay for what you actually use.
- You don't have to worry about space, whether in your office if you have your infrastructure located there, or space at a datacenter cage.
- You also don't have to budget for other factors such as cooling (blade cages are notorious sources of heat issues, I understand).
- You do not own the systems in question, so you do not have nearly as much control as you would if you did own the equipment in question. So if an outage or breakdown happens, you are totally at the provider's mercy. Further, there's a big concern about data privacy.
- Going hand-in-glove with above, cloud computing may not even be HIPAA-compliant, which is a HUGE hurdle to overcome if you are in the healthcare industry. The laws are pretty strict about privacy.
And I totally agree about the state of the term and concept itself. "Cloud computing" is yet another piece of buzzword-compliance.
For more information about cloud computing in general, a good baseline reference might be its entry in Wikipedia