Chapter 22

Life in Cloud City


Examining the basics of cloud computing

Looking at three kinds of cloud computing services

Understanding the pros and cons of cloud computing

Perusing a few major cloud computing service providers

The world’s two most popular science-fiction franchises — Star Wars and Star Trek — both feature cities that are suspended in the clouds. In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Han takes the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City, hoping that his friend Lando Calrissian can help repair their damaged hyperdrive. And in the original Star Trek series episode “The Cloud Minders,” the crew of the Enterprise visits a city named Stratos, which is suspended in the clouds.

Coincidence? Perhaps. Or maybe Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas both knew that the future would be in the clouds. At any rate, the future of computer networking is rapidly heading for the clouds. Cloud computing, to be specific. This chapter is a brief introduction to cloud computing. You discover what it is, the pros and cons of adopting it, and what services are provided by the major cloud computer providers.

Introducing Cloud Computing

The basic idea behind cloud computing is to outsource one or more of your networked computing resources to the Internet. “The cloud” represents a new way of handling common computer tasks. Following are just a few examples of how the cloud way differs from the traditional way:

  • Email services
    • Traditional: Provide email services is to install ...

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