Cloud Computing: A new era of Technology

Cloud Computing

Traditional business applications have always been very complicated and expensive. The amount and variety of software and hardware required to run them are high. A complete team of experts is needed to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them. When you multiply this effort across dozens or more apps, it’s easy to see why the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting all the apps they so much needed. Smaller and mid-sized businesses don’t even stand a chance. Companies needed a solution for this, something cheaper and easy to maintain and coming to the rescue is the CLOUD. Cloud computing not only address the issues of maintainability but it also offers organizations a cheap and reliable way to deploy their applications without the need for r unnecessary expenses and maintenances cost. What exactly is Cloud Based Computing? There is no standard definition for what the Cloud is, but as Grossman, R.L (University of Illinois Chicago) said in his book “The case for Cloud Computing” which states that “Clouds computing refers to clouds, or clusters of distributed computers, provide on-demand resources and services over a network, usually the Internet, with the scale and reliability of a data center”. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means the storing and accessing of data and programs via the Internet instead of ones computer's hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet, think of the cloud representation as those puffy, white representations of the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the internet that are seen in books and websites demonstrating how data flow from the servers to clients. Cloud computing embraces the cyber infrastructure, building upon a long decades of research in virtualization, grid computing, distributed computing, and, more recently, networking, web and software services. To understand clouds and clouds computing one needs to understand the two basic classifications of cloud computing. This includes 1)The type of the Services offered and 2)The location of the Cloud.

Types of Services Offered

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

This is a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet. IaaS involves offering hardware related services using the principles of cloud computing, it embodies the basic building blocks for cloud IT and provides access to networking features, computers (on dedicated hardware or virtual), and data storage space. The IaaS provides the highest level of flexibility and management control over IT resources and is most similar to existing IT resources that many IT departments and developers are familiar with today. Leading vendors that provide Infrastructure as a service are Windows Azure, Google Compute Engine, Rackspace Open Cloud, and Flexiscale. They host user's applications and handle tasks including system maintenance, backup and resiliency planning. IaaS are well suitable for workloads that are temporary, experimental or may change unexpectedly because it offers high scalable resources that can be adjusted on-demand and offers customers the ability to pay on a per-use basis.

Software as a service (SaaS)

SaaS includes a complete software offering on the cloud. The software application is accessed by users and hosted by the cloud vender, they offer on pay-per-use basis as opposed to buying licensed programs which are often quite expensive. Gmail and Google Docs are examples of such services. With SaaS, users can’t see or touch the executable file as it is located on the server and thus it is impossible for them to ascertain what it really does and they cannot change it. Only the server operator has the power to change the software.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers a development platform on the cloud. It allows customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the unnecessary complexity of building and or maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app. PaaS improves the speed of developing an app allowing the client to focus on the application itself. The applications and data is managed by the client while the host (Cloud Provider) manages other processes such as the runtime, middleware, virtualizations, and servers. Other types of Services are (Storage, Database, Information, Process, Application, Integration, Security, Management, and Testing-as-a-service).

Location of the cloud computing

When we talk about the location of the cloud, think of this as the Based on the location, cloud can be classified as:

Public Cloud

This are clouds made available to the general public by a service provider who hosts the cloud infrastructure. This includes cloud providers such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon who own and operate the different infrastructure offering access over the internet. In public cloud architecture, the whole computing infrastructure is located on the premises of the cloud computing company that offers the cloud service. The location remains, thus, separate from the customer and he has no physical control over the infrastructure. The public model offers customers no visibility or control over where the infrastructure is located. All the customer on the public clouds share the same infrastructure pool with limited configuration, security and availability. A major advantage of this model is that customers benefit from economies of scale, because infrastructure cost are spread across all users allowing each and every individual client to operate on a low-cost, pay-as-you-go model. Because public clouds use shared resources, they excel mostly in performance but are also most vulnerable to various attacks. Technically the difference between public and private cloud architecture may be little or none, however, the different services such as applications, storage and other resources made available by the service provider are substantially different.

Private Cloud

Compared to public clouds, private clouds are more expensive and more secure. The computing infrastructure is dedicated only to a particular organization and it is not shared with other organizations. It allows businesses to host applications in the cloud, while also addressing concerns regarding the data control and security. There are two types of private cloud and this includes: On-Premise Private Cloud: This are most suitable for applications that require complete control and configurability of the infrastructure and security. It is hosted within an organization’s own facility. Externally Hosted Private Cloud: This are also exclusively used by one organization, but are hosted by a third party specializing in cloud infrastructure. They are cheaper than On-premise private clouds. The service provider facilitates an exclusive cloud environment with full guarantee of privacy. Private Cloud like public clouds also provides self-service to applications and resources but more such as Control and Customization, Dedicated Resources etc.

Hybrid Cloud

This are a composition of two or more different clouds such as a combination of private and public. Each are unique separate entities but are bound together offering the advantages of multiple deployments. It is where the public and private cloud converge. The hybrid is a combination of one or more private and public cloud services co-existing but remain effectively separate. Combining private and public cloud infrastructures, companies are able to leverage the best of what both have to offer, for example organizations can host critical and sensitive applications on private clouds either for more security and other applications with relatively less security concerns are hosted on the public cloud. By using a hybrid architecture organizations can keep each aspect of their business in the most efficient environment possible.

Other types of Cloud are Community Cloud, Distributed Cloud, and Inter Cloud. Companies making use of the cloud get the most of productivity, it also makes accessing data from any location possible and easy (Reliable) and lastly the simplicity is unmatched. You can deploy your applications on the cloud and don’t have to worry about maintenances or hardware related problems.

Though some companies havent embraced the cloud just yet and they sticking to the native centralized systems. However it is inevitable, Cloud is the future and the future is now.

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