Up Up and Away

All about Cloud Computing
by: Jerry Liao

Cloud computing is a general concept that incorporates software as a service, Web 2.0 and other recent, well-known technology trends, where the common theme is reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users.

The majority of cloud computing infrastructure currently consists of reliable services delivered through next-generation data centers that are built on compute and storage virtualization technologies. The services are accessible anywhere in the world.

So what’s with cloud computing you might asked? We’ll if you’re using web based email like Yahoo and Gmail, storing photos online, uploading your personal videos online, using online applications – then you are into the clouds, meaning you are using cloud computing.

Below is a rundown of the share of internet users who have done a select set of online activities that involve storing data online or accessing applications in cyberspace:

– 56% of internet users use webmail services such as Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo! Mail.
– 34% store personal photos online.
– 29% use online applications such as Google Documents or Adobe Photoshop Express.
– 7% store personal videos online.
– 5% pay to store computer files online.
– 5% back up hard drive to an online site.

Overall, 69% of online users have done at least one of these six activities, with 40% of internet users having done at least two of them.

Convenience and flexibility are the watchwords for those who engage in at least one of the cloud computing activities listed above:

– 51% of internet users who have done a cloud computing activity say a major reason they do this is that it is easy and convenient.
– 41% of cloud users say a major reason they use these applications is that they like being able to access their data from whatever computer they are using.
– 39% cite the ease of sharing information as a major reason they use applications in cyberspace or store data there.

At the same time, users report high levels of concern when presented with scenarios in which companies may put their data to uses of which they may not be aware:

– 90% of cloud application users say they would be very concerned if the company at which their data were stored sold it to another party.
– 80% say they would be very concerned if companies used their photos or other data in marketing campaigns.
– 68% of users of at least one of the six cloud applications say they would be very concerned if companies who provided these services analyzed their information and then displayed ads to them based on their actions.

The “cloud computing” data comes from a survey of 2,251 adults between April 8, 2008 and May 11, 2008. Some 1,553 respondents in the survey were internet users and the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for results based on internet users. The study was conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project.

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