Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

The Metaphor of Cloud Computing

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

The Metaphor of Cloud Computing

Article excerpt

Every now and again a metaphor floats up from the world of computing that captures people's imaginations and tongues. In the '90s, it was the "information superhighway." In the late '00s. it is "cloud computing."

Cloud computing involves sending your computing tasks away from your computer, to a cloud of computers that will send back results. Or perhaps the cloud will house applications, so you do not need to have them on your computer. Maybe the cloud will provide a complete platform for groups of applications. Whatever it is, you are sending your information off into the cloud.

There are even wars shaping up between clouds run by different companies. Apple will sponsor a cloud; so will Microsoft. Amazon's cloud is up and running, along with a number of smaller companies' clouds for specialized business applications.

The cloud looks inviting for information technology officers at large corporations, because all their work can be outsourced to the cloud. The corporation will not need to buy or license software; instead, they can use the software in the cloud and just pay for time used. They will also not need to store vast amounts of data in their own systems; the cloud will do it for them.

So what exactly is this cloud? It is a datacenter: a building or set of buildings full of computers which are always on, always connected. Discussions of cloud computing don't publicly include much information about these data-centers, but I have been curious about them. …

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