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Going into the Cloud

One emerging technology that is impacting ISEB and ISTQB software testing techniques is the concept of cloud computing.  You’ve seen the ads on TV.  “To the cloud” they say!  Cloud computing is being recognized now by the general public, not just as a buzzword for developers & testers.  But is it really a new technology?  The answer is a resounding no.

The idea (in its most ambiguous state) has actually been around for roughly 50 years!  Someone named John McCarthy stated that “computation may someday be organized as a public utility.” And that is essentially what today’s cloud computing is; a technology that leverages the Internet to remotely control applications and the associated data sets. 

In other words, it is distributed computing, with inputs coming from multiple resources split across multiple physical locations.  The cloud is essentially a black box comprised of layers of infrastructure that sends and receives data, such that developers request resources from the cloud itself instead of a specific named resource.

Why is it called cloud?  I’m not really sure, but I’ll guess it has to do with the fact that a cloud image has often been used to represent the Internet and other large computer networks.  I could be wrong but hey, it sounds good!

The benefits of it should be obvious.  For organizations, costs are shrunk, flexibility is increased, organizational learning is enhanced, and speed-to-market is accelerated.  For software testers & developers, access to critical resources and information is more immediate, mistakes are easier to correct, and in general they can now do more with less. 

Additionally, it enables the usage of computer applications without the need for installing them onto your PC, and applications can be accessed from anywhere.  All people need to enter the cloud is a web browser.  Physical location no longer matters.  Now that is what I would call the epitome of efficiency!

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