Evolution has been the buzzword of nature for millions of years, creating many new species, improving some and causing many to get extinct. Humans were no exception to this phenomenon and we underwent so many changes from increase in our brain capacity to inventing languages for better communication between ourselves. We braved it over the years to stay in the race and have ultimately become the most dominant specie on the planet and in our best of capacities tried to tame nature too. While it would seem that anatomic evolution is a thing that no longer applies to us, there is another force that is changing our lives every single moment that we live- Information evolution.
We can find all sorts of information around us right from a simple name written on a notebook or a piece of text on a newspaper to the pictures or videos that we upload on facebook. Every breath we take generates more and more information in the form of blood pressure readings to the heartbeat measurements. Everything we see or hear or speak is information in the form of images and audio and finally as electrical impulses and chemical exchanges in our body.
While most of the information generated is not actually needed, a huge amount of it is critical to people. For example the medical records, bank transaction details, school records, video and audio archives etc. are some types of information that we just cannot afford to lose. We actually store this information for many months after its use.
The problem arises when hundreds of Terabytes of useful information called ‘Data’ or in this case ‘Big Data’ generated every single day that has to be processed and stored somewhere. Our hard disks do it for us but these are just not enough. Imagine a scenario when you recently bought a new hard disk and a week later you realise that it’s full and there are still many of your favourite movies that you are yet to copy. What would you do, delete some? While we may have been taught since our childhood to compromise, the Information evolution makes sure that you don’t need to. Store it on a cloud instead!
Cloud is the next big thing in the field of IT and it promises to revolutionize the way we use our computer and no it’s in no way related to the clouds in the sky! It roughly involves connecting several different computers across the globe to form a network called cloud which then acts like a single megacomputer having almost unlimited storage space and processing power. The best thing about it is that if you don’t know the stuff that works behind it, you wouldn’t even realise that the game that you are playing on your computer isn’t even there and is stored miles away say for example in Alaska or Zimbabwe or anywhere else on the globe. Same goes for your pictures and movies and much more. All you need is an internet connection, a few bucks and you get to use somebody else’s hard disk as your own! Popular cloud storage services are Google Drive, Microsoft Sky Drive, Dropbox, and Ubuntu One which are free of cost and provide a fair amount of storage.
It is a frequent practice by many hospitals and corporations to outsource their data storage to specialised locations called Data Centres and forget about the hassles of managing it. There are companies like EMC2 that practically manage the half the data in the world.
This evolution is so rapid that a few years from now, you wouldn’t need even an Operating system. The cloud will take care of your applications too. Just subscribe to the application, run it online and use it without the need to download and install it. So the next time when you want to play GTA 4 and you do not have enough RAM in your PC, you wouldn’t have to borrow your friend’s laptop, play it online. Problem solved. Another important benefit of cloud is that you can access your data anywhere you want. So if you are at your office and one of your colleagues who missed out the exciting party last night wants to check out the pictures, log in to your cloud and you are set to go.
Technology has always unified people be it the telephones or the internet by connecting people. Cloud is a step ahead in this direction that promotes the sharing of your resources so that someone else shares theirs with you. It’s like communism where you pool in your resources but here you get to decide if, when and how! In the time to come, the conventional hard disks would not be enough because the ways to capture our myriad and most amazing of experiences would improve significantly, it would surely rain cloud and if you make use of it optimally you’d find the snapshots of your memories, the sounds of your favourite music and even those huge, boring files of your office better managed.