Student Number: 480463964
Ira Sebastian Aquino
Information technology has expanded at a rapid pace, it both shapes and adapts to new trends and technologies. Cloud computing has seen major development over the past few years and is a prime example of innovative change in the information technology sector. Offered primarily as a service cloud computing hosts many users from the everyday consumer through to large scale co-operations. As a result, cloud computing plays a pivotal role in many lives and businesses. This essay explores the conception, effects and implications that cloud storage has on today’s society.
The Genesis of Cloud Computing:
Throughout history, the collection of data and information has been paramount to the operation of day to day life. Originally books and scrolls that were published were stored in private establishments that only a select few could access. Later years saw to the physical copying and sharing of documents worldwide, allowing for a much vaster access to information. The dawn of computing and the internet birthed the concept of peer-to-peer communication on a global scale as well was the creation of cyberspace. Through cyberspace individuals and businesses could begin to explore the concept of ‘cloud computing’ and utilize the internet to store and access data (Lu & Faynberg, 2016).
Cloud computing is a colloquial term used to describe a service that utilizes the concept of shared computing. During the 1960’s large computing co-operations such as IBM and DEC played around with the idea of sharing single machines to numerous users to increase productivity and reduce equipment costs (Lu & Faynberg, 2016). However, computing during this time period only existed for a small percentage of the population, and even fewer users were connected to the conception of the internet. Then, in the 1980’s and 90’s personal computers became more prominent and the demand for off-site data storage began to rise. This saw the rise of VPN’S, otherwise known as virtual private networks. VPN’s created a private network that could operate over the internet. This allowed users and co-operations remote access to their resources and applications (Lu & Faynberg, 2016).
Cloud Computing in Society
Cloud computing began to receive a lot of attention during the 2000’s primarily because of its appearance into the consumer realm. In 2002 Amazon became the first major corporation to revamp its data centres and refine the cloud computing infrastructure model for a more efficient use of company resources (Kindschi, 2018). Four years later Amazon then created spaces that consumers could rent to pay for the temporary use of storage or the usage of superior virtual machines. Google responded to Amazon’s web-based services with the introduction of ‘Google Docs’ a virtual space that hosted applications that could update, edit and share data online. From 2006 other large organisations such as Apple, Openstack and Docker began to follow suite and release their own services that operated within cyberspace centralising around the concept of cloud computing (Mahmood, 2014).
With numerous multi-million organizations developing cloud-based solutions and services consumers began to see the appeal in storing and accessing information through the internet. The utilisation of Cloud computing now spans a plethora of different industries from media and communications through to information management (Kindschi, 2018). Today, there are many economic pressures that force media organisations to change and evolve the way they conduct business. In today’s digital landscape, there has been an increased focus on the effectiveness and refinement of ‘digital supply chains’. Media companies have been utilizing cloud computing to enhance their digital supply chains and reduce expenses by adding media processing services that reduce hardware operating costs (IBM, 2010).
Two of the most notable giants in the cloud computing industry are Amazon and Google, with services that offer commercial, personal and industrial benefits these two multi-billion dollar organisations are consistently driving innovation in the field of cloud computing (Kindschi, 2018). Amongst all the companies that offer cloud services there are three companies that stand at the forefront of cloud computing, as well as other fields in the technology sector. These companies are Amazon (also known as Amazon Web Services), Microsoft and Google. The three of these companies are not only the best-known companies in consumer computing but are also three of the most established technology players in cyberspace (Mahmood, 2014).
Amazon’s Web Services are widely used throughout a myriad of different sectors, the smooth operation of their servers is paramount to the livelihood of many small to large businesses. Amazon continues to be the most mature, enterprise-ready provider, with the strongest track record of customer success and the most useful partner ecosystem. Microsoft is another notable force controlling the ecosystem around cloud computing. Microsoft remains one of the most recognised names in could computing due to its deep knowledge and understanding of the three layers of the cloud IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. However, Microsoft’s core strength stems from its heritage and the synergy with both current and future Microsoft products and services. There have been numerous changes in society since the implementation of cloud computing into business, government and consumer lives.
Across the world, governments are attempting to present and integrate, their government services in the most advanced and convenient way to their citizens. Utilising new technology available is required to increase the interaction between state and populace and cloud computing is enabling this because of its efficiency. The high scalability, low maintenance and reductions in cost make cloud computing essential in government. One of the key reasons why cloud computing is advantageous to public services is its easy implementation in society. Public services offices and citizens no longer need to purchase specialised hardware or software licenses to access specialised services. Instead, citizens can use the government run cloud services in order to access welfare benefits, medical care services and other government related inquires (Tadili & Semma, 2015).
The Cultural Implications of Cloud Computing
Culturally, the most significant implication that cloud computing has had is caused by its sustainability. The emerging trends in ecological sustainability has contemporary businesses looking for ways to implement greener solutions to their daily operation. Whether consumers are knowingly using it or not they’re already heavy users of cloud computing services. With companies competing for the best reputation amongst its competitors in every way sustainability and environmental preservation continue to act as a performance indicator for corporations and their IT departments. Over the year’s government regulators, stakeholders and every day consumers have become increasingly aware of a company’s carbon footprint, and companies of all sizes are investing more on developing methods to decrease their carbon footprint through more sustainable operations (Blaisdell, 2013).
By balancing sustainability and performance companies are able to increase popularity with stakeholders due to the recent cultural trends in e-friendly waste and sustainability. Moving various operations to the cloud means fewer machines and better energy savings for an organization, reducing the need for shipping and manufacturing more physical machines (Blaisdell, 2013). By promoting the use of sustainable business methods there has been a cultural implication that corporations must consider the effects that they have on the environment. Cloud computing has assisted the push for more sustainable solutions due to the multiplicity of cloud computing software.
Socially, cloud computing has had a significant impact on the way that communication has evolved. Emails, social media, online video games and streaming services all utilise cloud computing to some degree. YouTube and Facebook are testimony to how society can now communicate and share information with each other in new and unique ways. The emergence of the “citizen journalist” has been a major social implication that cloud computing has enabled causing a lot of debate as to whether or not various news sources are still reliable. The educational sector has also been quick to realize the advantages of cloud computing technology and it has been utilized in many ways. The storage of textbooks online without the need for physical print, ability access data anywhere, class enrolments and assignment tracking are few of its primarily implementations.
Although there are numerous advantages to cloud computing there are still those who do not benefit from its mass adoption. For small businesses and consumers cloud computing provides adequate storage and security. However, for larger businesses with more sensitive data, data centres are still much more trusted then storing sensitive data in the cloud. Large corporations will still have worry about security and control, NSA compliances, and the physical location of data of where all their data is stored. Finally, manufacturers who specialise in the production of hard drives and data centres could see a hit in profits due to the rising popularity of virtual storage. This is especially true when observing your everyday consume resulting in the hard drive market shrinking as consumers turn to the cloud (Arthur, 2013).
In conclusion due to its diversity and sustainability the cloud has numerous benefits, primarily when utilized in the private sphere. With large corporations continuing to invest money into improving their cloud infrastructures the technology will mature until perfected. The economic benefits of cloud computing for corporations and consumers will continue to keep cloud computing relevant for decades to come.
Arthur, C. (2013, April 3). Hard drive market shrinks in Europe as consumers turn to the cloud. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/apr/02/emea-hard-drive-market-shrinks
Blaisdell, R. (2013, November 13). Environmental benefits of cloud computing. Retrieved from Ricks Cloud: https://rickscloud.com/environmental-benefits-of-cloud-computing/
IBM. (2010). Cloud Computing for the Media and Entertainment Industry. IBM Sales and Distribution Thought Leadership White Paper, 1-31.
Kindschi, E. (2018, 07 06). The History of Cloud Computing (And What the Future Holds). Retrieved from Gordon Flecsh: https://www.gflesch.com/blog/the-history-of-cloud-computing
Lu, H.-L., & Faynberg, I. (2016). Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing: Business Trends and Technologies, 1-25.
Mahmood, Z. (2014). Computer Communications and Networks. Cloud Computing Challenges, Limitations and R&D Solutions, 3-51.
Mohamed, A. (2018, April). A history of cloud computing. Retrieved from Computer Weekly: https://www.computerweekly.com/feature/A-history-of-cloud-computing
Sacks, G. (2016, October 28). HOW CLOUD COMPUTING IS CHANGING BUSINESS DYNAMICS. Retrieved from Advantage services: https://www.advantageservices.net/blog/58/How-Cloud-Computing-Is-Changing-Business-Dynamics
Tadili, H., & Semma, A. (2015). How governments can benefit from Cloud Computing . IJCSI International Journal of Computer Science Issues, 170-174.