One of the most valued features of the Internet is the inability to destroy it. Governments might restrict it, and sites themselves might be taken down; however, the Internet as a whole endures like Methuselah. Why? It does not exist in one place. It exists as a network – a web, if you will – strengthening with every computer that is on-line. Killing one computer may lose files locally on that machine, but what is on the Internet is protected by the interconnections that make it thrive.
Yet as personal computers have advanced over recent decades and drive space became bigger and bigger, this great advantage of the Internet was never greatly utilized. Single computers contracted viruses, and their files were lost forever. Networks were compromised, and their folders disappeared in the digital abyss.
Enter the new popularity of Cloud computing, perhaps slow to catch on for the everyday user, but now gaining popularity by leaps and bounds. This past week, the hard-drive on one of our employee’s computers crashed. Years of files were on that machine, but conveniently, they weren’t stored locally. They were on the Cloud – in Dropbox in her case. Those files didn’t disappear with the broken computer. They were saved in on-line storage space that can be accessed by any connected computer with the proper user name and password. Ten years ago, that employee would be out of luck. Today, the failure was a hindrance but not a show stopper. Servers in off-site data centers across the world allowed business to continue fairly smoothly.
And Internet file storage is just the start. Potential for on-line collaboration, eCommerce flexibility, and greater efficiency is causing the Cloud to slowly shift the way the Web is used for individuals, businesses, and governments alike.
The Cloud blanketed the news this past week.
- Europe’s Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, revealed a document titled, “Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe,” which makes a push to steer Europe’s businesses and public sector as a whole to the Cloud for the benefits it promises for the EU’s economy;
- NASDAQ launched a web-services app called FinQloud to assist with storing and managing financial data in regard to new regulatory requirements;
- And hundreds (if not thousands) of amateur and professional scientists utilized Cloud computing to follow the real-time images returning from the Mars Rover.
It’s a pretty amazing age we live in. George Jetson himself would be amazed.
Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net