Cloud Computing - Disadvantages of cloud computing
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First I'll break the bad news about cloud computing, and then give you all the benefits of it. One of its few major issues is that it relies totally on network connections. If the network goes down, you're done using the computer until it is back up. If the network gets bogged down, then your computing will be slower.
The other major downfall is that it doesn't use a hard drive. While it is a benefit as I will discuss later, it is also a negative. Some applications or hardware might require having a hard drive attached to the computer; these might be hard to get working properly with the hard drive on a remote server.
From my experience, the last big issue is peripherals. Getting printers to work is hit or miss. The more popular printers will give you little trouble when you try to get them working properly. The little printers that aren't as common, such as label printers, can face issues with the mini PC that each user has.
In most big businesses, few people have personal printers; most printers are networked, so it's not a big issue to a majority of users. Things such as scanners use software to work with the PC, however, and if your virtual hard drive doesn't have the software, when you log onto the cloud computer at a desk, you won't be able to use the scanner until you install the software.
I don't think this would be terrible for day-to-day work, but most people have something they have to do every once in a while that requires access to something they don't have attached to their computer and for which they don't have software on their hard drives.
How do you get started?
Does this whole cloud computing craze make your mental gears turn? Chances are, unless you are a big company with some good friends that would love to let you demo this new way of computing, you probably don't have the money to drop on getting a cloud system up and running. And if you're a home user, cloud computing is overkill for you.
You're not out of luck, however, if you still want to try this. There is a cloud PC that you can use without the need for a server; it's called CherryPal. It comes with a small plastic box with two USB ports, VGA-out, audio out, LAN and wireless. It has 4 GB flash memory, so you can store stuff locally as well as on the server. Along with this PC, you get 50 GB online storage for your hard drive. It sounds like a pretty good deal at $250. It will run a distribution of Linux with applications bundled with it such as OpenOffice. For all those environmentally conscious users, this computer consumes a total of 2 watts.
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