What the rise of Cloud computing means for the IT Industry?
The Emergence of Cloud Computing
While much has been written and said about the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and how it has the potential to disrupt the software and the IT (Information Technology) industry with its ability to do away with lesser skilled jobs as well as ensure that the industry enters into a new era where machines are smarter than humans, another trend that has emerged in recent years equally has the potential and indeed, is already disrupting the industry.
This is the rise of cloud computing where applications and products are no longer hosted on the desktops or on laptops and instead, the users can directly access such services from the “cloud” or the layer between the client and the server that makes the client side hosting and accessing redundant in the process.
What Do Cloud Hosted Applications Mean?
In other words, a cloud hosted application means that client side installations of the software or the product are no longer required and all that the users have to do is to login to the cloud hosted application where they can access all the features of the product or the software.
Take for example Email wherein in earlier years, users had a client side application that would connect to the server and download the mails which were then stored on the desktop.
In the present times, users no longer need to do this and instead, they can login to the Email service hosted on the cloud where they have the option of reading and storing the Emails on the cloud or in cases where they are required for important purposes or for legal and other reasons, they can decide to download the mails to the desktop or the laptop.
Examples of Kindle and Google Play
Taking another example, if you have used Kindle Reading Application on your Desktop or your Phone or even Google Play Applications (books, music, games etc), you would have noticed that there is an option to “store” the data on the cloud or download the same to your device.
Thus, this means that users need not necessarily use their native storage on the desktops or the devices and instead, choose to read or play on the cloud. While storage savings are one part of the story, the other and perhaps more important aspect here is the doing away with client side installations of the software which means that dedicated personnel are no longer required to manually install and service (attend to fixes, crashes, and the like) the locally installed applications.
How the Traditional Client Server Model Works
To understand the impact of the cloud computing wave, it would be pertinent to know how the client server model of software works. In this paradigm, dedicated software resources and personnel are required to design and code the front end (which is on the desktop) and the backend (which is on the server).
In addition, during the implementation phase, some of them would have been required to travel to the client offices to install the client side software and the server side code and database.
Software as a Service
With the emergence of cloud computing, this entire model is transformed into one where the users access the applications hosted on the cloud thereby making the tasks mentioned in the previous paragraph completely redundant.
Indeed, the concept of Software As A Service or SAAS which means that software can be used as a service provided on the cloud means that there are many jobs that are no longer required as all that the vendor providing the software has to do is to build the cloud interface and the protocols for connecting the cloud and the server and the database and let users login to the cloud directly without any need for manual presence.
This not only saves costs associated with overseas travel and stay of the software developers in the client site but also saves on the many tasks associated with building the application or the software.
How Cloud Computing is a Game Changer
Thus, it can be said that the emergence of cloud computing and SAAS has been a game changer for the IT Industry wherein this new form of value addition means that there is much scope for leaner and meaner software projects that are efficient and do not entail extra costs or wasteful expenditure.
No wonder that many Indian Software firm cite the emergence of cloud computing as an equally important trend concomitant with AI in the way in which these developments have impacted their bottom lines and profitability.
Further, it is also the case that SAAS and Cloud Computing lead to scalability since a potentially infinite number of users can access the cloud without any restrictions on such access.
For instance, take Microsoft Office which is now hosted on the cloud. This cloud based service means that any number of users can access applications such as Word and Excel based on a per user license or a mass corporate license.
The number of such licenses has no restrictions since Microsoft is no longer providing such licenses for desktop based use and instead, on the cloud which means that anyone covered under the blanket license can access and use it as a service.
To conclude, software under cloud computing is a service that transforms the whole paradigm of what it means to build and install software in addition to what it takes to maintain and scale up the software along with bug fixes and updates and upgrades becoming easier for everyone thereby leading to efficiencies from the economies of scale and synergies from integration of the various activities.
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