This morning I looked for some more information on the “TMA” that French Connection is developing. I haven’t yet been able to work out what “TMA” stands for but I understand that it is a system which will enable French Connection to link and integrate between its different channels and devices. More importantly, I found out that this platform will be based in the “cloud”. This made me think about what that means: what happens in the cloud?
At the most basic level of understanding, I learned that cloud computing is Internet based. Until the introduction of cloud computing, data and applications could only be hosted on physical client-servers. Storing data in the cloud changes all that. The cloud makes things accessible through a web browser. It thus makes it easier and quicker to provide scalable data or applications. Users typically don’t have to worry about the “back end” of the cloud computing architecture, which comprises various computers, servers and data storage devices.
Particularly small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) seem to be in favour of cloud computing since it saves them the expenditure involved in the more traditional IT infrastructure setup. But also big businesses like French Connection and Universal are increasingly hosting their often complex (and data-rich) eCommerce systems in the clouds. These are systems that regular users can interact with. Well-known providers of cloud based services are Amazon, IBM and Oracle.
In short, the main things I’ve learned about cloud computing so far are:
- Cloud computing provides a viable alternative to large-scale and expensive IT infrastructures.
- It provides users with easy access to data and other virtualized resources.
- As a result of the flexible nature of cloud computing, data or software can be provided on demand.
Main learning point: I’ve learned about the basic workings of cloud computing. As time progresses, cloud computing will be offered in a variety of shapes and sizes. The key underlying principle is that the “cloud” makes physical client-servers redundant. The flexibility inherent in cloud computing is probably its biggest selling point. In future posts I will look into cloud-based service platforms and related security issues.
Related links for further learning: