Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Growth of Cloud Computing

I suspect that by now you have probably heard about "the cloud", but you may not be sure what it entails.  In short, the cloud is really just another name for the Internet, a global collection of computers, or servers, that can be accessed over a network.  Cloud computing, on the other hand, is a way of using the Internet, and this is the technology that is responsible for driving the cloud's explosive growth.  If you search Google for cloud computing, it is defined as "the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data." Simply put, if you watch YouTube videos or movies on demand, use Facebook, store photos online, shop on Amazon, download software, or do almost anything on the Internet, you're engaging in cloud computing.
   In fact, cloud computing is now big business, with revenue of more than $110 billion in 2015.  It may surprise you to learn that the dominant player in the Global Cloud Infrastructure Market is Amazon, with a 31% market share.  The next three competitors, Microsoft, IBM and Google, have a combined total of only 22% of the market.  
  As we increasingly live our lives online, the cloud is likely to continue its rapid growth, and there is no end in sight.  It's estimated that there are currently 75-150 million servers worldwide, operating in thousands of data centers.  However, maintaining so many servers is expensive and time consuming.  The energy consumption alone must be staggering!  In a future post, I'll discuss research being done on new technologies that have the potential to change this landscape dramatically.

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