Apr 22, 2009

Looking For Free Cloud Computing? Look No Further!

The new "buzz word" of the internet is "Cloud Computing." It is everywhere! Even the latest version of Ubuntu (Check back here tomorrow) is offering features for cloud computing. You just can't get away from it! So what is cloud computing? Basically, cloud computing is virtual computing services that are hosted on the internet. Cloud computing can range from web site hosting, to hosted Microsoft Exchange services, online backup solutions, to virtual hosted servers just to name a few.

Well tonight I asked myself if there was any place one could get free cloud computing. I know Amazon is offering cloud computing with their EC2 product, but it isn't free. True it isn't terribly expensive either, but it isn't free. Another name in the cloud computer market is GoGrid, but once again it isn't free. Both of those servers let you pay-as-you go and let you create on-the-fly instances of both Windows servers and Linux servers. Like I said before though.... IT ISN'T FREE!

Good news for you though! I have found a free cloud computing service! The service is called iCloud. True, you do get what you pay for. In this case, you don't get "server" services. You can't, for instance, set up an on-the-fly web server or anything like that. Also, you don't get any say in what type of operating system you get. You get the iCloud OS (Based on Linux) and that is it. Also, you don't get the option of installing more applications.

That being said, this service is still pretty cool. You get 3GB of "cloud" storage (There is that buzz word again) for your important documents which you can access anywhere there is an internet connection with a web browser. You also get a full suite of office applications, web browser (Yes, another way around Websense), instant messenger, RSS feed reader, and some other basic computing applications that you might find on a standard desktop.

All of these things can be accessed through your virtual (virtualization is another buzz word) desktop located at http://os.icloud.com. To sign up for the service, just visit iCloud.com and register for your free account and away you go!

In the end, this service wasn't really what I was looking for. Although I do see some value in it, I am really looking for something a little more robust. If you know of a free service similar to Amazon ECS or GoGrid I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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