Cloud computing – where did this term come from? What does it mean? And more importantly, how can Namibia, and Africa as a whole, make use of it?
The very basic definition of cloud computing is essentially a number of computer resources and services served over a computer network such as the Internet.
The term “cloud” (referring to a network or the Internet) is abstract in the sense that the resources made available on your workstation can now be independent of that particular workstation. For example, if you are working on a document in your office, once you save that document it will essentially be available (to you) from any other workstation with access to the same cloud computing service.
Well, like most businesses, you’ll have to spend a little and wait a little longer to start seeing profits but in the long run, it is very profitable. The idea is, users and organizations choose from different plans/packages and pay for services on a monthly or annual basis.
All this means businesses can save loads on hardware and software costs by choosing these packages. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is being able to manage and monitor scalable business application models based on cloud systems.
Africa at large could benefit from this but the challenges involved such as lack of decent Internet connectivity in most areas and the scarcity of quality CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) and Data Centers in the region. Businesses in southern Africa are already making moves to capitalize on a number services they can already offer to the public, for instance in Namibia, Salt Essential IT is among the few ICT (Information Communication Technology) providers offering basic cloud services such as offsite backups and business application hosting. This is still far from the very definition of cloud, but it is cloud computing.
Major cloud computing services worth mentioning are:
- Drop Box
- Sky Drive
- Google Drive