IF YOU SPEAK TO ANY of the large technology companies chances are the term cloud computing will come up. The concept is that instead of having a computer program sitting on your PC it sits either partially or entirely on the Internet. The benefit is that you can get access to all your information from a variety of locations and devices and even if you are in the middle of nowhere you could still work on a borrowed computer.
The classic example of that is something like Gmail or Google Docs, where you simply access the service through your web browser. Other forms of cloud computing rely on a very light desktop client with all the information stored on a server somewhere. That allows people to access large amounts of continuously updated information from almost anywhere.
An important precept of cloud computing is the ability of the service to scale. Because you’re using a virtual pool of computers situated somewhere on the Net – but not constrained to a specific location – it should be possible to add large amounts of new users to the system without everything falling over.
Of course, the biggest potential failure of the cloud-computing model is that all are relying on their network. Of course networks have a habit of failing, leaving all your data stuck on the cloud somewhere to which you have no access.