What is Cloud Computing?
If you’re reading this from a PC, you’ve got a computer with an operating system and probably dozens to hundreds of applications that you use to do whatever it is you do with that PC. Bringing up a web browser and reading blogs is just one of them.
If you want to write a letter, you’re going to probably bring up Microsoft’s Word and compose it. Whatever it is you want to do, chances are it will require some application that you paid some company for. An application that may from time to time require upgrading, and eventually you’ll have to pay for that.
Or, instead you could use what is called a thin client, this is just a program that allows you to connect to some remote computing facility and use your keyboard and monitor as if you were right there. In our case, Eskimo North uses something called ‘NX’ to provide that functionality and we are also working on providing that capability to some other thin clients.
Using this, let’s say you wanted to write a letter, now your computer no longer has to be equipped, instead you’d connect to us with your NX thin client, go to Applications->Office->LibreOffice Writer, and compose your letter. If you setup a printer, then you could print from that program on our server to your printer. Alternatively, you could setup Google Cloud Print and print to a cloud printer.
With this situation, you no longer have to pay for a word processor, or upgrade it when it’s obsolete, or so any sort of hardware or software maintenance beyond what is necessary for your thin client to work and that is minimal.
An additional plus, you wouldn’t need to learn MacOS, Windows, and Linux OS’s and their applications as the interface and application would be identical no matter which platform you are working from. Eventually we hope to expand this to any HTML5 compliant browser equipped device which will open it up to smart phones, tablets, etc.
A larger cloud computing provider would have a huge network of computers providing the service but it would be transparent to you. Ours is still pretty small but we’re working on that.
There is an advantage to small. A huge network of millions of inter-networked computers is also a huge network to properly secure. When you put something on Amazon’s or Google’s clouds, who knows how many computers your data is spread across. Hopefully they are all secure, and I hope the same for my network but it does seem like that job grows with the size of the network and it is frankly those concerns that have prevented me from offering some new services I would like to offer, I need to get the security issues nailed down first.
One thing we do differently here is that we don’t mine your data to target advertising to you or for any other purpose. We view your data, you content, whether it be web, e-mail, files in your directory, as yours and respect that. I hope this is a viable commercial model, a model for those who wish to have their privacy and the ownership of their content respected. Only time will tell. You all vote with your feet. I just want to be clear that what I am building here is quite different from what others are building in that respect. I always appreciate your feedback.