The cloud world

From stream­ing TV to Gmail, it’s all about the cloud. Glenn Chap­man writes

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - TRAVEL -

Whe th er you’ re watch­ing your favourite show on Netlix or back­ing up all-im­por­tant cat pho­tos to Google Drive, the “cloud” has be­come an es­sen­tial part of our dig­i­tal lives.

No, not those large white bod­ies of water va­por loat­ing through the sky — the tech de­i­ni­tion sim­ply refers to hav­ing servers in re­mote dat­a­cen­ters han­dling pro­grammes or data that peo­ple or busi­nesses can ac­cess any­where from de­vices of their choos­ing.

“You name it, it’s hap­pen­ing in the cloud,” an­a­lyst Rob En­derle of En der le Group said .“It’ s re­ally where ev­ery­thing is be­ing done now.”

Cen­tury-old tech­nol­ogy stal­wart IBM is mak­ing a $34 bil­lion bet on cloud com­put­ing in the form of a mega-deal to buy Red Hat, a pi­o­neer­ing pro­po­nent of the open source move­ment that arose to counter gi­ants like Mi­crosoft whose mod­els were based on keep­ing their source code se­cret.

Here is a look at the trend and its al­lure to tech­nol­ogy ti­tans such as Ama­zon, Google, Mi­crosoft and IBM.

De­vel­op­ers craft soft­ware in the in­ter­net cloud.

Self-driv­ing cars and smart cities will rely on com­put­ing in the cloud.

Web-based email and com­pany pay­roll sys­tems are in the cloud.

Sales teams on the road man­age ac­counts and tap into re­sources in the cloud.

While busi­nesses in the past used on-site main­frames built by IBM or its ri­vals, it has be­come cost ef­fec­tive for firms to rent ap­pli­ca­tions or data stor­age hosted and main­tained in the cloud by providers such as Ama­zon or Mi­crosoft.

Such ar­range­ments al­low busi­nesses to eas­ily ac­cess more or less com­put­ing power as needed, with­out hav­ing to in­vest in data cen­ters or sys­tem main­te­nance.

Com­pa­nies in­ter­ested in tighter con­trol of some of the data or pro­cesses opt for “hy­brid clouds,” sim­ply mean­ing that they let on­line data cen­ters han­dle some of the com­put­ing work while keep­ing more sen­si­tive as­pects on their own ma­chines.

The kind of com­put­ing power avail­able in the cloud is seen as es­sen­tial for pro­cess­ing data in real time for in­no­va­tions such as cars safely driv­ing them­selves or cities al­lo­cat­ing pub­lic ser­vices in real time as needs or sit­u­a­tions change.

Mo­bile life­styles ramp up re­liance on cloud com­put­ing as peo­ple watch YouTube, post on Face­book, tweet, send pho­tos to friends, and work on the go.

Smart phones, tablets, and lap­tops can open win­dows into im­mense com­put­ing power in data cen­ters.

The more peo­ple “cut the cord” and let go of tra­di­tional ca­ble TV, the more they turn to the cloud.

Stream­ing tele­vi­sion ser­vices ac­ces­si­ble at Netlix, Ama­zon Prime, and You Tube are hosted and pow­ered by on­line data cen­ters, as are web­based email and so­cial me­dia such as Face­book, Snapchat, In­sta­gram, and Twit­ter. On­line mu­sic rains from the cloud. But the cloud also comes with con­cerns about who is con­trol­ling and pro­tect­ing data stored by third par­ties on­line.

Cloud com­put­ing plat­forms are tempt­ing tar­gets for hack­ers who see gold or power in the mas­sive amounts of in­for­ma­tion be­hind data cen­ter walls.

Some be­lieve that will lead to a fu­ture with busi­nesses pre­fer­ring more bal­anced, or hy­brid, set­ups with sen­si­tive data kept in-house.

Ama­zon Web Ser­vices (AWS) is con­sid­ered the leader in cloud com­put­ing, with Mi­crosoft’s Azure plat­form its top ri­val.

“Ama­zon made a com­mit­ment to cloud com­put­ing, and their CEO is now the rich­est guy in the world,” an­a­lyst En­derle said, re­fer­ring to Jeff Be­zos.

Ama­zon an­nounced new AWS cus­tomers in­clud­ing Sam­sung Heavy In­dus­tries last week when it re­ported earn­ings for the third quar­ter of this year.

AWS net sales rose to $6.7 bil­lion from $4.6 bil­lion in the same pe­riod last year. AWS op­er­at­ing in­come jumped to $2.1 bil­lion from $1.2 bil­lion in the same year-over-year com­par­i­son of quar­ters.

Mi­crosoft said last week that rev­enue from its cloud of­fer­ings to busi­nesses soared to $8.5 bil­lion in the re­cently ended quar­ter, up 47 per­cent from the same pe­riod a year ear­lier.

Al­pha­bet-owned Google’s earn­ings for the third quar­ter showed that, while it still made the bulk of its money from on­line ads, the amount of “other rev­enue” that pre­sum­ably in­cludes cloud ser­vices in­creased to $4.6 bil­lion, an in­crease of a bil­lion dol­lars from a year ago.

China-based Alibaba is con­sid­ered a fast ris­ing con­tender, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts.

Gart­ner fore­cast that the over­all pub­lic cloud ser­vices mar­ket world­wide would grow steadily from $187.2 bil­lion this year to $338 in the year 2022.

While con­sumers en­joy the beneits of cloud-hosted ser­vices, most of the money made by hosts come from cater­ing to the com­put­ing needs of busi­nesses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.