1.0 - Introduction
Cloud computing is a relatively new concept only becoming mainstream in the last 30 years or so which allows users on-demand availability of computer system resources. In which they do not directly manage and instead access from a third-party provider. Cloud computing has many different applications and implementations with some of the most popular beings for direct computing power and large application data storage. The cloud computing market is one of the fastest markets growing in the IT industry with it projected to be worth over $1.2 Trillion by the year 2028 .
One company that holds most of the market share as a cloud provider is Amazon Web Services, which is a subsidiary of Amazon, it was created specifically for providing Cloud services.AWS is arguably a market leader holding a significant share compared to similar providers offering the same or similar cloud services. Thecloud provider'ss size is increasing with over 1 million current users as of 2020 . This shows the increasing emergence of the cloud in our society.
Figure 1 Shows how cloud providers' profits have increased from the previous years (2017-2018) - 
In recent years the use of cloud computing in our everyday lives have become more commonplace, but why is this? There are a few arguments for the cloud one of them is that it’s a central processing use case, which means that users move their applications to the cloud meaning they can access them in a simple, fast, and controlled way. Before the existence of cloud computing, most applications were stored on users’ personal computers, over time these applications got bigger and required more resources for computing and data storage, increasing these resources is expensive and perhaps not cost-effective for someone to upgrade every time they want to store some more photos for example. We have seen this thought of cloud computing over the last 20 years but in more modern times there are greater arguments for cloud computing, the current one is the cloud enables more complex IT infrastructures which is not possible on a local machine scale .
2.0 - The uses of Cloud
2.1 - Use of Cloud in Education
As mentioned previously one of the main benefits of the cloud is the ability to it be on-demand and flexible and only having to pay for what they use in terms of resources . Previously if researchers wanted to run complex simulations that required a vast amount of computing power, the institution would have to have their own hardware to do said research in their own datacentre environment which they would control, this is known as on-premise. Since the emergence of cloud solutions, it is now possible for researchers to launch complex simulations on the cloud. This has made research more accessible as the cloud is a cheaper alternative to on-premise datacentres because their organizations do not actually need to pay for the hardware and manage it themselves as on-premise has large maintenance and upfront costs . With the cloud as well, there is no software licensing costs. With a large enterprise infrastructure, one main serious price factor is the software prices required to use the hardware associated with it. One example would be cisco networking software setting you back $1000 per router or switch it's used have in some cases , there are many other examples of this in the commercial hardware space, these costs increase the larger the scale of the infrastructure. Of course, price is relevant in other sectors, but I find it is shown in greater detail in education where budgets are tighter and research more important.
One other factor which is important to discuss in terms of discouraged use of on-premises infrastructure for research is to do with the hardware itself. Research simulations often require vast amounts of computing power, so the latest and best hardware is needed to perform these simulations or research. One problem with on-premise solutions is that you must upgrade this hardware yourself and at this current time more powerful processors and faster storage mediums are being released every year or even sooner. This would mean that to have the best research environment the organization would have to invest heavily into upgraded hardware every time faster and better hardware is released, they may not have the budget for this as the costs are high. With the cloud, the provider upgrades the hardware. These providers often have larger budgets to spend on providing the best for their clients for this so they can offer it when the organization that is using their own hardware in a data centre may not.
Not only has the cloud improved research in educational organizations it has also improved learning. In more modern times we have seen the need to create flexible learning environments due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 as well as for other reasons such as online universities . The cloud allowed a lot of educational establishments to continue offering their education to their students through the time lockdowns that were occurring in many countries across the world. During this time there have been many new software technologies using the cloud which allow video and voice communication amongst numerous individuals at once, one of these being notably zoom which during the pandemic was used to simulate a classroom or lecture theatres commonly seen in educational establishments, this benefited students, so their education wasn’t put on hold during the pandemic .
2.2 - Use of Cloud in Healthcare
Cloud computing technology is gaining significant use in sectors such as healthcare, one of its main uses is managing the use of patient data for it to be easily shared between medical institutions. Not only does this save time but also saves costs as before the emergence of the cloud individual medical records would of have to off been kept in storage and then accessed when needed and only off been able to be accessed on a local area network or in one location. Now though wherever a patient is being treated their medical records can be accessed from the cloud .
3.0 Limitations of Cloud
Although there are many benefits of cloud computing for society, individual users, and businesses there are also some drawbacks relating to the general use of the technology.
3.1 Privacy and Security of Data
One of the main concern and limitations of cloud computing is over the control of data, in a cloud environment users’ data is distributed amongst a cloud provider infrastructure. Privacy and data security are big issues. Someone with malicious intent such as an eavesdropper or even malware could become a threat to the end-user of the cloud computing solution.
When using cloud computing clients must have complete faith in the service provider for the security of their data. For this reason, small companies with limited resources who may have a lack of trust in these big cloud-providing companies may choose to use on-premise rather than cloud solutions for their infrastructure .
3.2 Service Availability
Although cloud is extremely scalable and distributed there is also a concern for the user in terms of availability, because the servers which the end-user is using are not managed or owned by them and instead a cloud provider it is possible that the services could become unavailable unexpectedly and there is nothing the end-user can do to fix it and restore service for them or their customers if it’s an issue with the cloud providers infrastructure . Research has shown that 47% of users expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% will leave to another website if it’s after 3 seconds. With this, it shows that service unavailability is not an option for a customer of these cloud providers as they will be potentially losing traffic and revenue with this research also reporting an average loss of $5,600 per one minute of downtime .
3.3 Vendor Lock In
Although not really a concern for an end-user, it’s important for businesses and organizations that we have discussed. Cloud computing is very vendor dependent as there are many different cloud providers offering a wide range of different services and architectures for their own systems, moving data between cloud providers can be tricky and hard for a business to conduct. It is also hard when organizations are larger as there is more data to move, because of this organizations have little to no choice about moving away from cloud solutions or changing to a different service provider once they have started using them .
Vendor lock-in can also be considered in terms of cost, as an organization is paying hourly or monthly for the services it's hard for them to just stop paying this if their infrastructure is reliant on a cloud provider. With on-premise solutions (if the organization owns its own data centre) they do not have these monthly costs but instead, there is a large upfront cost.
In this report we explored the brief emergence of the cloud as well as its practical benefits in a few sub-sectors in our societies, we also looked at some of its limitations of it. In conclusion, I amongst many organizations believe that cloud technology has been extremely useful to society, The benefits that the cloud gives I do believe the way the limitations as a lot of the limitations can be mitigated if they are managed correctly.
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