Every couple hundred years or so, development takes a big jump. In the 20th century alone, we went from party lines to cell phones, Model Ts to smart cars and radio to plasma televisions. Technology and computing have come a long way since the days of the massive, centralized mainframes that took up whole rooms. Today, we've moved through terminals, distributed personal computing and client-server technology to intelligent Web-based solutions. And now it's time for the next big jump. Cloud computing is ready to take the world, and even the insurance industry, by storm.
Essentially, cloud computing is an offsite network hosted by one, and used by all, where you can select applications and services for use, and store data securely without the hassle and expense of a room full of mainframes, servers and computer equipment. Tim O'Reilly, one of the brains behind Web 2.0, has called cloud computing "the platform for all computing," which could potentially change the face of computing. Also called grid computing or utility computing by some, cloud computing is the ultimate equalizer. Now companies of all sizes need simply to get connected to the cloud. Mom and pop can have the same computing abilities as SalesForce.com, eBay and even Amazon.
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