Once upon a time, there lived a huge giant called the Mainframe. It helped several people share data and supported large applications. Then arrived a family called Client-Server. Most people who used Mainframe, switched over to Client-Server, mainly because while Mainframe was very reliable and strong, it was also very difficult to maintain, and it required huge storage capabilities. Independent users, who joined this family, became clients. They sent requests to the Server, who carried out their requests turn-by-turn. However, Server often grows tired with too many requests and falls ill, which leaves clients feeling disappointed and helpless.
The latest solution to this is Cloud computing. This technology uses Internet as a blanket to cover any number of users. Users who have internet connection can join a cloud (or blanket), and become a part of it. Once they become a part of the cloud, they can share their own resources and also access resources of other users who are also part of the cloud. Clouds may be of various types. There are private clouds, owned by companies which consolidates all its resources (both hardware and software) in a data centre, and allows users to access it behind a firewall. Private clouds can be envisioned as a secluded city with all kinds of resources which its people can use behind a very high, protective boundary wall. Similarly, public clouds are clouds that can be bought on a pay-as-you-use basis from a service provider on the internet (like people who rent rooms in a hotel).
Ideally, countries like India, where currently, the rate of innovation is very high, are extremely well suited for cloud computing, as it helps companies reduce their IT costs and focus on their core competencies. But this is not the scene at present. There has not been a single success story in India so far. This is mainly because current conditions make cloud computing every expensive in India. The cost of real estate, to start with, is very high, and is increasing with each day passing. Also the high cost of 24/7 power, and its unavailability in many cities is another major issue. Other issues are slower internet speeds and security issues. Due to all these reasons, the cost of installing and maintaining a data centre in India is nearly 10 times as high as it is in the US.
However, things are changing. Despite these dampening factors, most companies are positive about the success of cloud computing. Companies like Google and Amazon have robust architectures in place for cloud computing, that offers their clients a large number of services that are scalable and customizable. This architecture is extremely cost-effective as it is on a very large scale and thus helps in achieving economies of scale. Also, cloud computing services from a service provider can help companies achieve connectivity, scalability and uniformity across its entire supply chain, as well as value-nets, which is the large network comprising of various companies partnering with each other to provide a set of customers a particular product or service. Although most companies prefer private clouds right now, public clouds will achieve great importance in the future.