Why the Cloud?
No discussion of Web technology is complete without giving proper attention to cloud computing. The term “cloud” is as much a marketing vehicle as it is a technological reference, but the technology behind it is perhaps the most significant development taking place on the Web today.
“The simplest explanation that we try to use to define the cloud is on-demand computing that is paid for as it is consumed,” says Rob La Gesse, chief disruption officer at Rackspace, one of the Web’s premier providers of cloud hosting. “The cloud offers unmatched ease and scalability for moving a business onto the Web, allowing business owners to spend more of their time focusing on their products and their business. Arguments about the cloud that we hear from CEOs are that they are afraid of relinquishing control of their hosting situations, but to that I always try to explain that presently they probably don’t really have the control they might think they do.”
Some of the obvious advantages to cloud computing are that businesses can save significant amounts of money on expensive servers and other hardware and IT staff by going to the cloud, while the most commonly discussed potential pitfall right now relates to data security. An enticing option for today’s businesses, says La Gesse, is an automated dedicated server-cloud hosting hybrid.
“There are still things that have to be invented,” he adds, “but it is going to get done. There are several dozen companies working on perfecting the cloud right now, and in the next few years about half a dozen of them will have found the right solutions.”