Thursday, June 25, 2009

What is Cloud Computing?

Life before cloud computing
Traditional business applications—like those from SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle—have always been too complicated and expensive. They need a data center with office space, power, cooling, bandwidth, networks, servers, and storage. A complicated software stack. And a team of experts to install, configure, and run them. They need development, testing, staging, production, and failover environments.When you multiply these headaches across dozens or hundreds of apps, it’s easy to see why the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting the apps they need. Small businesses don’t stand a chance.

Cloud-computing: a better way
Cloud computing is a better way to run your business. Instead of running your apps yourself, they run on a shared data center. When you use any app that runs in the cloud, you just log in, customize it, and start using it. That’s the power of cloud computing.Businesses are running all kinds of apps in the cloud these days, like CRM, HR, accounting, and custom-built apps. Cloud-based apps can be up and running in a few days, which is unheard of with traditional business software. They cost less, because you don’t need to need to pay for all the people, products, and facilities to run them. And, it turns out they’re more scalable, more secure, and more reliable than most apps. Plus, upgrades are taken care of for you, so your apps get security and performance enhancements and new features—automatically.
The way you pay for cloud-based apps is also different. Forget about buying servers and software. When your apps run in the cloud, you don’t buy anything. It’s all rolled up into a predictable monthly subscription, so you only pay for what you actually use.Finally, cloud apps don’t eat up your valuable IT resources, so your CFO will love it. This lets you focus on deploying more apps, new projects, and innovation.The bottom line: Cloud computing is a simple idea, but it can have a huge impact on your business.

What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing is a relatively new term that conveys the use of information technology services and resources that are provided on a service basis. According to a 2008 IEEE paper, “Cloud Computing is a paradigm in which information is permanently stored in servers on the internet and cached temporarily on clients that include desktops, entertainment centers, table computers, notebooks, wall computers, hand-helds, sensors, monitors, etc.”

History of Cloud Computing
In network diagrams, resources that are provided by an outside entity are depicted in a “cloud” formation. In the current (but still evolving!) model of cloud computing, the cloud computing infrastructure consists of services that are offered up and delivered through data centers that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The cloud, then, in this model, is the single point of access for the computing needs of the customers being serviced.

In the cloud computing definitions that are evolving, the services in the cloud are being provided by enterprises and accessed by others via the internet. The resources are accessed in this manner as a service – often on a subscription basis. The users of the services being offered often have very little knowledge of the technology being used. The users also have no control over the infrastructure that supports the technology they are using.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing
In cloud computing models, customers do not own the infrastructure they are using, they basically rent it, or pay as they use it. The loss of control is seen as a negative, but it is generally out-weighed by several positives. One of the major selling points of cloud computing is lower costs. Companies will have lower technology-based capital expenditures, which should enable companies to focus their money on delivering the goods and services that they specialize in. There will be more device and location independence, enabling users to access systems no matter where they are located or what kind of device they are using. The sharing of costs and resources amongst so many users will also allow for efficiencies and cost savings around things like performance, load balancing, and even locations (locating data centers and infrastructure in areas with lower real estate costs, for example). Cloud computing is also thought to affect reliability and scalability in positive ways. One of the major topics in information technology today is data security. In a cloud infrastructure, security typically improves overall, although there are concerns about the loss of control over some sensitive data. Finally, cloud computing results in improved resource utilization, which is good for the sustainability movement (i.e. green technology or clean technology.)

1) What is Cloud Computing?
2) What is cloud computing?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well written, Asim. Two questions.

One: These days, people sub-categorize Cloud Computing into Private and Private cloud computing. What are the key differences between the two?

Second: Vineet Nayar of famed HCL Technologies recently called Cloud Computing as "bull****", though said his company will be investing in this. What do you make out of this IT legend's remarks.

With best wishes.