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Business Advice

IT’s all in the clouds

See what the cloud computing buzz is about
ST701 Editorial Team - November 9, 2010
By: Sheila Lim
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IT’s all in the clouds

Catch the buzz
Cloud computing is increasingly associated with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they generally cannot justify or afford the large capital expenditure for purchasing traditional in-house IT resources and services.

However, a recent survey by Singapore-based Springboard Research – sponsored by California-based cloud-computing giant VMware – revealed that more large companies in the Asia-Pacific are adopting cloud computing, compared with smaller firms.

What is cloud computing?
The term “cloud” is used as a metaphor for web-based networks (including the Internet), based on the cloud drawing used to represent the telephone network in the past.

Clouds often appear as single points of access for consumers’ computing needs. Shared resources, software and information are delivered to computers and other IT devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet.

Cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online, while software and data are stored in servers. Users can access these applications through a web browser, as if they were programmes installed locally on their own computer.

Major cloud computing providers include Amazon and Google. Some of the larger IT firms actively involved in cloud computing are VMware, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Dell.

As cloud computing users generally do not own the physical infrastructure, and obtain applications through the networks, they avoid incurring capital expenditure on hardware, software and services. Instead, they pay providers only for what they use, and consumption costs usually pertain to utility resources like electricity or time-based subscription with little or no upfront cost.

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