“Cloud Computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid”. (Wikipedia)
Cloud computing in a narrow sense is technically different from the traditional server-client model, grid computing, etc. According to Wikipedia, “the systems architecture of the software systems involved in the delivery of cloud computing, typically involves multiple cloud components communicating with each other over application programming interfaces, usually web services”. Conceptually speaking, there isn't that much difference with other server-server-client models.
See also web service
2 Types of cloud computing
I seems to us that the term "cloud computing" does not have a universally accepted definition.
Raney and Cohen (June 2010) distinguish between:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), i.e. services like Amazon EC2 or google APIs for maps.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), e.g. online file storage, drawing, office software
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), e.g. portals like google apps that you may configure for your own organization.
We also can add:
- Virtualization (private cloud computing), i.e. be able to run a self-contained application (that includes a whole virtual infrastructure including file system, database, a mini OS, application program, etc.) on a cloud computer
3 In education
In education, there are several kinds of applications and trends, most refer to the simple use of free, so-called "web 2.0" applications. Below are a few use cases:
- Typically, the use of various web 2.0 software like office, drawing, editing applications, in the classroom. One of the biggest rationales for doing so is related to teacher enablement, i.e. teachers now can choose the software they want, whereas before IT services made most things impossible.
- Use of social software like blogs and wikis as well as tools for sharing links and artifacts
- Use of online learning management system services
- Similar tools as in classroom 2.0 + social software + some integration tool like a webtop
- A related use case are Personal research and teaching environments, i.e. personalized combinations of local and web services for both research (personal) and teaching (classroom 2.0/e-learning 2.0).
- Definition of integrated automated workflows that combine various distant and local resources.