Module 1 – Cloud Computing Emerges


A day does not go by that we don’t hear about “computing in the cloud,” the buzzword that describes using applications and storing data on the Internet rather than on a hard drive or local server. “The Cloud” is really nothing more than another term for Internet (Griffith, 2013). Although considered by many to have been originated in the worlds of Google and Oracle, the first use of the term can be traced to 1996 and an internal memo at Compaq, where the prospect was discussed as part of future strategic strategy (Regalado, 2011).

Soloway (Laureate Education (Producer), 2014a) notes that a technology has emerged when, among other things, it becomes both affordable and essential to the user. As a user who has been purchasing home computers every few years since 1992, I’ve experienced my share of lost data due to hard drive crashes or damaged floppy disks. Keeping my work secure in some remote location has become essential to me. The ability to back up data to a server via the Internet has been around since at least 2005, when Carbonite began offering automated hard drive backup (Carbonite, 2014a). I’ve personally been a customer almost since the beginning; the approximately $60 annual price tag has paid for itself time and again as I either changed computers or sent them in for repairs.

Beyond simple document storage, Microsoft and Adobe have joined Google Docs in becoming among the largest applications that can be used entirely online, without installing software on a computer hard drive. This allows for users to access their work wherever they happen to be, as long as they have Internet access. Google Docs (also known as Google Apps) is giving the ubiquitous MS Office a serious challenge in allowing multiple users to collaborate on documents and projects in the cloud, and some users have moved to the Google process permanently (Stevens, 2013).

A major challenge faced by proponents of cloud computing is convincing non-adopters of the safety of their data. Just as early users feared storing data on hard drives, believing floppies to be more secure, today’s computing population is concerned that hackers will have access to their data, or that some other catastrophe will cause the loss of all the work they hold dear. Deep and redundant encryption makes this less likely than, say, having one’s hard drive crash with irrevocable loss of data (Carbonite, 2014b).

If there is a serious pitfall to cloud computing, it is the necessity to have an Internet connection to access data and use cloud-based applications. This can mean lost time if, for example, there is an extended power outage, or when traveling to places where Internet service is limited. However, 4G and satellite technology make virtual connection possible nearly anywhere on the planet, and solar power sources for tech devices are becoming more robust and affordable. The computer industry is addressing the need for long battery life and strong Internet connections; devices such as the Chromebook by Google and the MacBook Air by Apple are two examples of computers that have eschewed the large hard drive for smaller solid-state (flash) drives with built-in 4G capabilities for use wherever a cell phone can find service.

I believe that cloud computing will eventually come to replace most hard drive-based storage and applications. The technology is expanding and improving, and developers are providing more web-based applications, allowing users to work “virtually” anywhere without worries about losing thumb drives or storing shelves of software packaging. If I were a professional prognosticator, I’d put money on the cloud eventually replacing PC-based storage entirely within the coming generation.



Carbonite. (2014a). About Us. Retrieved from Carbonite:

Carbonite. (2014b). Cloud backup 101. Retrieved from Carbonite:

Griffith, E. (2013, March 13). What is cloud computing? Retrieved from PC Mag:,2817,2372163,00.asp

Laureate Education (Producer) (2014a). Elliot Soloway: Emerging vs. emerged technologies . [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Mobile World. (2014). People working in the cloud. Retrieved from

Regalado, A. (2011, October 31). Who coined “cloud computing?”. Retrieved from MIT Technology Review:

Stevens, A. (2013, March 15). Office in the cloud: Google Apps vs. Office 365. Retrieved from ZD Net:

Technom. (2014). Cloud computing graphic. Retrieved from


3 thoughts on “Module 1 – Cloud Computing Emerges

  1. Hi Lyn –

    I definitely agree with your assessment that cloud computing will eventually replace hard-drive based programs. I am learning to rely more on cloud computing for data storage.

    You mention lost data due to hard drive crashes and damaged floppy disks. This year, I had two flash drives crash. I have lost a legacy of Walden assignments that I will never be able to recover . . .

    Anyway, now I simply lug around an external hard drive. I save assignments through the cloud and on my external drive.




  2. Hi Lyn
    I also agree that eventually cloud computing will replace the mainframe. Consequently, I am researching both to write an analysis of both. I had a mishap with not having files available for Walden assignments. I should have know to send them to the Cloud.

    I have my bracelet flash drive now and I will not leave it again. Having to reconstruct work is too time consuming and frustrating.



  3. Hello Lyn,

    Great article, however, cloud storage has been around since the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) protocol was established 1970/80 timeframe. Web 2.0 only serves to make it more user friendly. Look at it in terms of the pre-smartphones vs smartphones.

    I cannot agree that PC storage will ever be entirely replaced by cloud storage. They will parallel those of the PC, but not entirely replaced. The reasons for this is due to the issues of read/write access in terms of how fast the operating system stores (writes) and retrieves (reads) information, and the milliseconds in terms of the time the CPU expects the file to be read/write.

    There is also the timesharing factor that each application is given a certain amount of time to use the devices’ resources (CPU/memory/hard drive), and then it is switch to the next application in the multitasking environment. Handling the timesharing task is the job of the first application on the hard drive, that application is the Operating System, (Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux). You will need internet connection in the Gigahertz allotment and the read/write consistency will need to be faster than all hard disk storage, (by the way, hard disk drive is super slow in comparison to memory and the CPU). Without that, your data would be lost with the slightest of issue, which can be from power spikes, slow connection in the link, and any forms of time delays to name a few. To get a sense of what I am talking about, try sending a file over 10MB, now think about a person doing video editing or those types of files that are in the GB in size. For files with mostly text, certainly, no issues there; however, when you start playing with images, audios, and videos that is another think all together.




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