As with everything in the IT world, there are pros and cons and this burgeoning technology offers several advantages and disadvantages. Following is a list some advantages of cloud computing followed by the disadvantages.
Cloud computing advantages
- Improved performance: when the applications are run from the cloud, a better performance is expected and the computers running over cloud system will boot up faster and run faster, due to the fact that fewer programs and processes are loaded into memory.
- Increased computing power: users of the cloud can obtain the power of the entire cloud system, are not limited to the PC power, and can do tasks with the power of thousands of computers and servers.
- Unlimited storage capacity: cloud users will get virtually unlimited storage capacity that is not compared to the storage space of local PCs with the million of gigabytes that are available in the cloud.
- Lower cost computers for users: application runs in the cloud not on the desktop PC and the PC doesn’t need the processing power or hard disk space, thus cloud computing is lower priced, with smaller hard disks, less memory, more efficient processors.
- Lower IT infrastructure costs: no investment in large numbers of more powerful servers, companies will not have to purchase hardware equipment, this computing resources needs are easily handled by computers and servers in the cloud.
- Lower software costs: there is no need to purchase separate software packages for each computer, employees will use the desired application from the cloud, even if the cost of using cloud application is the same like desktop software, and it’s not, but the cost saving of installing and maintaining those programs on every desktop in the organization is great.
- Increased data safety: when using desktop computer, what will happen if the hard disk is crashed or destroyed? This will not happen in the cloud because if there is a storage crash in the cloud this will not affect the data that is automatically duplicated in the cloud storage, so nothing is ever lost.
- Improved compatibility between operating systems: If the network has a heterogeneous OS, like if the user wants a Linux machine to share data to Windows or Mac, users will not face these compatibility problems in cloud. The users can access the cloud from any platform and share or access any documents meaning the matter is the data not the OS.
- Improved document format compatibility: The document format compatibly of the OS will not exist in the cloud and all documents that are created or used are done through the cloud application resulting in no incompatible formats.
- Easier group collaboration: This is one of the most important advantages of cloud computing in which many users can access and share the same document at the same time. Group collaboration means faster completion of most group projects which enables access from different geographic locations.
- Removes the tether to specific devices: This is another important cloud computing advantage in which the users are not tied to a single computer or network. Moving to a mobile devices is welcome and there is no need to buy a special version of a program for a particular device. The users just need to save their documents on the cloud and could open them from any device everywhere.
- Latest version availability: cloud always will host the latest version of users documents and editing from anywhere will get the latest version.
- Instant software updates: An important advantage to cloud computing is that there is no choice between obsolete software and high upgrade costs. Cloud applications updates will done automatically and are available each time users access the cloud applications without paying for downloading an upgrades.
- Fewer maintenance issues: cloud computing greatly reduces both hardware and software maintenance for organizations of all sizes. For the hardware, if there is a fewer servers utilized in the organization, then the maintenance costs are immediately lowered, also the software maintenance can be reduced.
Cloud computing disadvantages
- Requires a constant Internet connection: it is impossible to work with the cloud without good Internet connection. If not available, the users will not be able to access their applications and documents and this is considered as one of the big disadvantage of cloud computing.
- Doesn’t work well with low speed connections: slow Internet connection such as dial-up services makes cloud computing painful and often impossible. Cloud applications require a good bandwidth to work and with a slow connection users will just be able to switch application pages not doing a real work.
- Can be slow: Cloud Web based applications can sometimes be slower than accessing a similar software program on the user’s desktop PC, even on a fast connection. The application interface on cloud have to be sent back to the cloud servers, unlike the traditional desktop application which run over the same PC, making it faster.
- Features might be limited: Web based applications is simpler than the full featured desktop based, and this is a main disadvantage of cloud. The normal users might like to work on desktop PC rather than jump to the cloud, and that’s why cloud applications today try to add more advanced features over time.
- Stored data might not be secure: The cloud users’ data is stored on the cloud storage and the problem is how to secure the cloud itself. The confidentiality of data is a very important issue to prevent unauthorized users gaining access to confidential data.
- What if the cloud loses your data: the data over cloud is unusually safe and the cloud storage implements a replication plan across multiple machines. However, if the users’ data is lost from the cloud, there is no physical or local backup, unless the users are periodically download their cloud data and keep local backup at their Desktops.
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