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Every 'cloud' has a silver lining
Every 'cloud' has a silver lining
By: Sneha Bokil-Paranjape

Cloud services are changing the way people consume computing power. Cloud computing, which has existed in some form or the other since 2005 but only picked up over the last three years, is a new paradigm whereby computing is delivered as a service over the Internet rather than as a product installed inside a company's premises.

With Internet giant Google, opening a 5 GB cloud space for its users, cloud computing is gaining momentum by day. Just a week back Microsoft expanded its SkyDrive product, offering up to 100GB of storage and adding access for the iPhone, iPad and Windows phones.

Cloud computing is growing in India and according to a study conducted by Nasscom and Deloitte last year, the market is predicted to clock revenues of $16 billion by 2020.

Internet-based cloud IT solutions provide not only enormous cost reduction in infrastructure and operating expenditure, but also enable flexibility, agility and ability to scale up or down as per the needs of a business and its affordability.

According to a study conducted by IDC and commissioned by Microsoft, cloud computing will generate two million jobs in India by 2015.  Mr Floris Van Heist, General Manager, Business and Marketing, Microsoft Corporation India, said, “Up to 75 per cent of the employees indulge in IT infrastructure-related jobs and the adoption of cloud can free up these resources for a company to concentrate in new revenue generating areas.” There will be more new job avenues, which will get better defined in the coming years, as the market for the cloud matures.

Indian firms are pacing ahead with the cloud technology. Tata Communications is currently one of the top two cloud players across India and Singapore, offering a combination of co-location, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), IT managed services and content delivery network.

 IMI mobile said its services reach over 900 million people in 64 countries and with telecom operator customers such as Vodafone, O2,Telefonica, France Telecom, Centrica, Barclays Bank, BBC, Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, MTNL, Reliance, Tata and, Virgin Mobile, the company has required a cloud solution that will help answer its growing business requirements.

Hotelogix, is another Cloud-based Property Management System (PMS) on the SaaS model which offers customers a unified approach for their business needs like front-desk operations, housekeeping, restaurants etc.

Where exactly can these cloud based service are used? And the first thing that pops up are ‘start-ups’, Companies that are in nascent stage from about any sector with minimum capital infrastructure can be created and supported by cloud services – retail, travel, media and entertainment, IT, financial services, pharma, and the list goes on. Cloud computing offers the same playing field that a bigger, established company has, because a start-up has access to the same technological backbone, data and markets. Cloud not only makes it easier but also cheaper for anyone to turn entrepreneur, and have the best of technology infrastructure without having to spend a fortune on the same.

The cloud is no longer a catchphrase of big enterprises. Individual gadget owners too can get a share. The beauty of cloud is that you will be able to access data from your phone, tablet, laptop and computer when connected to the Net.

According to technology researcher Gartner Inc the personal cloud will replace the personal computer at the centre of users' digital lives till 2015. Personal cloud will begin a new era that will provide users with a new level of flexibility with the devices they use for daily activities, while leveraging the strengths of each device — ultimately enabling new levels of user satisfaction and productivity.

Though cloud services offered by firms such as Dropbox are already being used widely, cloud applications over mobile app markets are gaining ground. Dropbox, which offers 2GB of storage for free, allows users to access it from Windows, Mac, Linux, Apple devices and BlackBerry devices.

Besides technical jobs, marketing and selling of cloud-based solutions will also be required, which in turn will create a host of new positions. Cloud computing is also giving rise to a new generation of software product companies, which can now sell their products on an on-demand basis over the Internet. Sports analytics firm Sportingmindz, for instance, started in Bangalore in 2006 offers its products on a cloud platform. Idhasoft, an Indian company started in 2006 with operations in the US, has a cloud application that provides a management system for medium sized hospitals globally.