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You’ve probably seen the terms “cloud based” or “in the cloud” used in almost every SaaS company pitch. But what is cloud computing and how does it affect your training business?
Many businesses today thrive and grow off their data. Traditionally, companies spent large amounts of money to maintain their data. It required someone with a strong IT background and a hub to store that information. No matter the size of your business, the high cost of in-house data infrastructure and support was generally unaffordable. Cloud is now the alternative solution being adopted by companies big and small.
Cloud computing is when a server is provided to you by someone else. It is accessing computer resources on demand. The benefit of Cloud is that you do not need your own server, someone is providing network power for you.
Cloud computing now gives businesses access to technology that may have previously been out of reach. As well as convenience and shareability, cloud computing has many advantages over more traditional data storage, such as:
Cloud computing decreases the demand of both hardware and software. The only thing a user generally needs for a cloud computing system is the interface software, which is usually just a web browser. For example, email is a service where data is stored on a cloud server and not your computer.
SaaS companies are now more prominent than ever thanks to cloud based servers, making their product more accessible to customers. In addition to cloud, we are in the early stages of a cloud extension called Fog. Fog computing allows greater security, lower latency, power efficiency and the loss of connection to the server is impossible.
Fog is not separate to Cloud, but rather complements it. Fog keeps computing resources at the edge of your network rather than a single cloud server. Most of your data is stored in local devices, instead of sending it all to the cloud. This means data can be spread evenly across computers, mobile devices and any other equipment that can be connected to the internet.
Fog uses storage resources within the devices you already have. It reduces the need for bandwidth by not sending every bit of information to a cloud channel and performs a great deal of computation on its own. It can also aggregate data at certain access points, sending the important stuff straight to Cloud. This allows for a more strategic compilation of information to your cloud database, while allowing you to keep the data you need regularly within your Fog network. Because the fog computing network is built between your local devices, information can be accessed much faster than from a cloud server.
The main difference between fog computing and cloud computing is that Cloud is a centralized system, while Fog is distributed and decentralized. This means Fog does not store data in one server, it is stored across multiple devices. Data being fragmented amongst local devices makes it extremely quick to access for a user. All pieces of information come from different access points instead of one main storage point that's trying to send and receive. Data from the Fog network can be accessed in real time as it has less space to travel than Cloud. This technology will be part of the infrastructure for many things such as smart cars and smart cities.
While cloud computing is already popular amongst training organisations, fog computing will have a range of benefits within education. The initial benefits will be cost, reliability and speed. It will be especially beneficial for remote locations and off site teaching. As fog develops, it will hugely benefit artificial intelligence and responsive augmented reality, virtual reality and holograms. Imagine being able to do remote surgery in real time...
Decentralised cloud computing is a peer to peer cloud server that is powered by multiple devices. Your data is stored across a chain of volunteer computers instead of one server, like fog. However, these devices aren't local and are not attached to a cloud server. Your data is encrypted, broken up into small chunks, and distributed across all systems participating in the network, which could be global. Users renting their available storage space are paid in cryptocurrency to store data. Decentralized cloud does not aggregate data and does not necessarily share in real time. It is a cheaper way to rent a cloud server and opens up the possibility to make money from free computer space.
Cloud, fog and decentralised cloud data storage are changing the way we approach business and are allowing smaller companies to have a larger impact within their chosen industries. They are cost effective, reliable, secure and generally quite fast. If you haven’t at least looked into cloud yet, it might be time to start your research and find out how your training organisation can benefit.