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I have had this question for a long time. The "new" thing now is cloud computing. Files stored online, processing done on other machines online etc etc.. I have been working on a project for a while, using ssh to connect to another machine and do my work on it. each time I login in I retrieve my file, run a unix-text editor and continue working. This has been around since 1995 (SSH-1). What the difference between cloud-computing? Is it about the processing methods? Is the processing done on your machine when using ssh?

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The difference is:

  • SSH is a well-defined network protocol with a clear public unambigous specification and several well-known implementations with source code you can look at.

  • Cloud computing is a typically vague marketing term that evolved from the ideas of Software As A Service (SAAS) and means whatever the nearest marketing executive wants it to mean today.

Generally, with cloud computing, we expect that command-lines are probably not involved and that the "cloud" is often doing quite a lot of the actual processing and display and IO for us.

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The biggest advantage cloud computing has is it abstracts the hardware and software maintenance. Problems that companies face such as lacking rackspace, electricity cost concerns, and scalability can be outsourced to providers that "buy in bulk."

The two scenarios you compare here are not quite to scale with each other.

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