What is Cloud Computing in Simple Terms

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more over the internet referred as a cloud.  Here we are going to tell you about what is cloud computing, its services, applications, advantages, and much more, so let’s start with its definition.

The term “cloud” appears to have its origins in network diagrams which represented the internet and other parts of it as a schematic cloud. This concept is representative of what happens when applications and services are moved into the internet “cloud”. It is not something that appeared overnight, some form of it can be traced back to a time when computer systems remotely time-shared computing resources and applications. One thing to be assured of while using the devices of these services and applications is that they do not require any special applications.

One thing to be assured of while using the devices of these services and applications is that they do not require any special applications. The companies which provide these services are called as cloud providers and typically charge for computing services based on usage which is calculated in the similar way of calculating water or electricity bill at home. The first cloud technology service is barely a decade old, but already a variety of organizations ranging from tiny startups to global corporations, government agencies to non-profits, are embracing this technology for all sorts of reasons.

cloud technology

Origin of Cloud Computing term

The origin of the term cloud computing is unclear. The word “cloud” is commonly used in science to describe a large agglomeration of objects that visually appear from a distance as a cloud and describes any set of things whose details are not further inspected in a given context. Another explanation is that the old programs that drew network schematics surrounded the icons for servers with a circle, and a cluster of servers in a network diagram had several overlapping circles, which resembled a cloud. In analogy to the above usage, the word cloud was used as a metaphor for the Internet and a standardized cloud-like shape was used to denote a network on telephony schematics. Later it was used to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams. With this simplification, the implication is that the specifics of how the end points of a network are connected are not relevant for the purposes of understanding the diagram. The cloud symbol was used to represent networks of computing equipment in the original ARPANET by as early as 1977,[and the CSNET by 1981—both predecessors to the Internet itself.

The term cloud has been used to refer to platforms for distributed computing. In Wired’s April 1994 feature “Bill and Andy’s Excellent Adventure II” on the Apple spin-off General Magic, Andy Hertzfeld commented on General Magic’s distributed programming language Telescript that:

“The beauty of Telescript … is that now, instead of just having a device to program, we now have the entire Cloud out there, where a single program can go and travel to many different sources of information and create sort of a virtual service. No one had conceived that before. The example Jim White [the designer of Telescript, X.400 and ASN.1] uses now is a date-arranging service where a software agent goes to the flower store and orders flowers and then goes to the ticket shop and gets the tickets for the show, and everything is communicated to both parties.

References to “cloud computing” in its modern sense appeared as early as 1996, with the earliest known mention in a Compaq internal document. The popularization of the term can be traced to 2006 when Amazon.com introduced its Elastic Compute Cloud.

 

Cloud Computing Definition & basics

Cloud computing basics include activities like creating new apps and services, storing, backing up and recovery of data, hosting websites and blogs, audio, and video streaming, etc. With the advent of this technology, there has been a big shift from the traditional way businesses thought about IT resources. There are some queries regarding this technology like what is cloud ? And why is it so popular? The reason for this is that it eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site data centers. This leads to savings of a large amount of money. Since most of the services are provided self-service and on-demand in order to provision vast amounts of computing resources in minutes with just a few mouse clicks to give businesses a lot of flexibility. These services have the ability to scale elastically at the global level. In cloud speak, which means delivering the right amount of IT resources with more or less computing power, storage, right bandwidth, whenever needed and from the right geographic location. The on-site data centers require a lot of racking and stacking of hardware set up, software patching and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for these many tasks so that the IT teams can now spend time on achieving more important business goals. One of the crucial advantages of cloud computing is that of performance and reliability.

History

The concept of Cloud computing came into existence in 1950, along with the implementation of mainframe computers being accessible via thin or static clients. Cloud computing has evolved from static clients to dynamic ones and from software to services. The following diagram represents the evolution of cloud computing.

Benefits of basic cloud computing

concept of Cloud computing

  • Access to applications as utilities over the internet
  • Manipulation and configuration of online application at any time
  • No need to install specific software to access or manipulate cloud application
  • Online development and deployment tools to program runtime environment through PaaS model
  • Availability of cloud resources over the network to provide platform-independent access to all types of clients
  • Availability of on-demand self-service in order to use resources without interaction with cloud service providers
  • Highly cost effective due to its operation at higher efficiencies with greater utilities and the only requirement of internet connection
  • More reliability due to the use of load balancing method

Key terms

On-demand self-service: It allows the users to use web services and resources on demand so that one can log on to a website at any time and use them.

Broad Network Access: Cloud computing is completely web based therefore, it can be accessed from anywhere at any time.

Resource pooling: It allows multiple tenants to share a pool of resources enabling the user to share single physical instance of hardware, database, and basic infrastructure.

Rapid elasticity: Resources used by the customers or those which are currently assigned to the user are monitored automatically thus, making it easy to scale up or down the resources at any time.

Types of cloud computing services:  

cloud service providers

Infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas)

This is the basic category of cloud computing. With Iaas, one can rent IT infrastructures like servers and virtual machines, storage, networks, operating systems from cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. Using these service, consumers can control and manage the systems in terms of operating systems, applications, storage, and network connectivity, but are not given access to control the cloud infrastructure by themselves.

Platform-as-a-service (Paas)

It refers to those services which supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications. This service makes it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up for managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development. Also, while using this service, consumers can purchase access to the platforms which enables them to deploy their own software and applications in cloud. In this service, the operating systems and network access are not managed by the users and there are constraints on deploying applications.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS)

It is a method for delivering software applications over the internet, on demand, and on a subscription basis. Using these services, the cloud provider can host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure. With this service, users can purchase the ability to access and use an application or service which is hosted in the cloud. A classic example of this is Salesforce.com, as mentioned earlier that the necessary information for the interaction between the user and the service is hosted as part of the service in cloud.

Deployment models

The use of cloud deployment models differs based on its requirement. There are four deployment models, each with specific characteristics which supports the needs of the services and the cloud users.

Private Cloud: It is a type of cloud computing which delivers scalability and self-service through a proprietary architecture. It offers hosted services to a limited number of people behind the security system and is dedicated to a single organization, thus minimizing the security concerns which some organizations have regarding the cloud. Besides this, the private cloud gives direct control over their data to the companies. In order to, reduce an organization’s on—premises IT footprint, Rackspace, and VMware cloud providers can deploy the private cloud infrastructure.

Community Cloud: The community cloud infrastructure is shared among several organizations who have similar interests and requirements. The operation may be in-house or with a third party on the premises, thus helps in limiting the capital expenditure costs for its establishment as the costs are shared among the organizations.

Public Cloud: Public cloud infrastructure is made available to the public on a commercial basis by a cloud service provider. It enables the user to develop and deploy a service in the cloud with very little financial outlay as compared to the capital expenditure requirements which are normally associated with other deployment options.

Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud computing uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud, and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. It allows workloads to move between private and public clouds as per computing needs and cost changes. Hybrid cloud gives greater flexibility and more data deployment options to the businesses.

Fundamentals of Cloud Computing

It is important to consider the business requirement and address the following issues, before deploying applications to cloud.

  • Data privacy requirement and data security
  • Budget
  • Type of cloud i.e., public, private or hybrid
  • Data backup planning
  • Training
  • Report requirements and dashboard planning
  • Client access planning
  • Data export planning

In order to meet all these requirements, it is necessary to have a well-compiled planning. The following diagram represents various phases to be practiced by an enterprise before migrating the entire business to cloud.

Hybrid cloud computing

Strategy planning phase: In strategy planning phase, we analyze the strategy problems which customers might face. The analysis is performed in two steps as follows:

Cloud computing value proposition

In this step, we analyze the factors influencing the customers while applying cloud computing mode and target the key problems the user wants to solve. Key factors involved in this step are as follows:

  • IT management
  • Cost reduction in maintenance and operation
  • Business innovation
  • Low cost outsourcing
  • High service quality outsourcing

Cloud computing strategy planning

In cloud computing strategy planning, a strategy document is prepared according to the conditions a user might face while applying cloud computing mode.

  • Cloud computing tactics planning phase

Cloud computing tactics planning phase performs the analysis of problems and risks in the cloud application to ensure the users that the cloud computing can successfully meet their business goals. There are four planning steps involved in this phase which are as follows:

  • Business architecture development

In business architecture development phase, we recognize the risks which might be caused due to cloud computing application from a business perspective.

  • IT architecture development

In IT architecture development, we identify the applications which support the business processes and the technologies required to support enterprise applications and data systems.

  • Requirements on quality of service development

Quality of service implies the non-functional requirements such as reliability, security, disaster recovery, etc., where the success of applying cloud computing mode depends on these non-functional factors.

  • Transformation plan development

In transformation plan development, we formulate all kinds of plans which are required to transform current business to cloud computing mode.

  • Cloud computing deployment phase

The cloud computing deployment phase focuses on both the cloud computing value proposition and cloud computing tactics planning phase. This phase involves the following two steps:

  • Cloud computing provider

This step involves selection of a cloud provider on the basis of Service Level Agreement, which defines the level of service the provider will be able to meet

  • Maintenance and technical service

These services are provided by the cloud provider along with ensuring the quality of services.

Cloud Computing Technology

In cloud computing, there are some technologies which work behind the cloud computing platforms to make it flexible, reliable, and usable. The technologies which are used are as follows:

Virtualization: It is the technique which allows the user to share single physical instance of an application or resource among various organizations or tenants. The processing of this technique is done by assigning a logical name to a physical resource and provide a pointer to the physical resource as per demand. The multitenant architecture offers virtual isolation among the multiple tenants thus, enabling the organizations to use and customize the application although they have their own instance running.

Service Oriented Architecture: Service Oriented Architecture assists to use applications as a service for other applications regardless of the type of vendor, product, or technology. Thus, it makes it possible to exchange data between applications of different vendors without additional programming or making excessive changes to services.

Grid computing: It refers to distributed computing in which a group of computers from multiple locations are connected with each other to achieve a common objective. An important thing to note in this case is that, these computer resources are heterogeneous and graphically dispersed. Notable feature of grid computing is that it breaks the complex task into smaller pieces and these smaller pieces are distributed to CPUs which reside within the grid.

Utility computing: This technique is based on Pay per use model and it offers computational resources on demand as a metered service. It is interesting to note that cloud computing, grid computing and managed IT services are based on the concept of utility computing.

Cloud Computing Architecture

Cloud computing architecture comprises of many cloud components which are all loosely coupled and can be broadly divided into two parts viz., front end and back end. Each of these ends is connected through a network which is usually done via the internet. The following diagram represents the graphical view of cloud computing architecture.

cloud technology

Front End: It refers to the client part of the cloud technology and consists of interfaces and applications which are required to access the cloud computing platforms like a Web Browser.

Back End: It refers to the cloud itself and consists of all the resources required to provide cloud computing services. Back End comprises of huge data storage, virtual machines, security mechanism, services, deployment models, servers, etc. It is important to note that, it is the responsibility of the back end to provide built-in security mechanism, traffic control and protocols. The server employs certain protocols which are known as middleware and they help the connected devices to communicate with each other.

Cloud Computing Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure consists of storage, servers, network, management software, and deployment software and platform virtualization. Components of Cloud infrastructure are as follows.

Hypervisor: It is a computer code or low-level program which acts as a Virtual Machine Manager and it allows to share the single physical instance of cloud resources between several tenants.

Management software: It helps in maintaining and configuring the infrastructure.

Deployment software: It helps to deploy and integrate the application on the cloud.

Network: It is the key component of cloud infrastructure and it allows to connect cloud services over the internet. Also, it is possible to deliver network as a utility over the internet i.e., the consumer will be able to customize the network route and protocol.

Server: It helps to compute the resource sharing and offer other services such as resource allocation and deallocation, monitoring resources, security, etc.

Storage: Generally, Cloud is used as a distributed file system for storage purpose and if one of the storage resource fails, then it can be extracted from another one which makes cloud computing more reliable.

Cloud computing companies

There are many companies delivering services from the cloud and some of them are mentioned as follows:

Google: Google has a private cloud which is used for delivering many different services to its users, including e-mail access, document applications, text translations, maps, web analytics, etc.

Microsoft: It has “Microsoft Sharepoint”, an online service that allows the content and business intelligence tools to be moved into the cloud. Also, Microsoft is currently making its office applications available in a cloud.

Salesforce.com: Salesforce.com runs its application set for its customers in a cloud. Also, its products like Force.com and Vmforce.com provides the developers with platforms to build customised cloud services.

Characteristics of Cloud computing

Shared Infrastructure: Use of visualised software model enables the user to share physical services, storage, and networking capabilities. Regardless of deployment model. The cloud infrastructure seeks to make the most of the available infrastructure across a large number of users.

Dynamic Provisioning: It allows the user for the provision of services based on current demand requirements and is done automatically using software automation which enables the expansion and contraction of service capability as per requirement. While doing dynamic scaling, there is a need to maintain high levels of reliability and security.

Network Access: Computing needs to be accessed across the internet from a broad range of devices like PCs, laptops, and mobile devices using standard based APIs such as one based on HTTP. It is interesting to note that deployment of services in the cloud include everything from using business applications to the latest application on the newest smartphones.

Manage Metering: Computing uses metering for managing and optimizing the service and provides reporting and billing information. Thus, the users are billed for services according to how much they used these services during the billing period.

Thus, it can be inferred that cloud computing allows the sharing and scalable deployment of services as per the users need, from any location and the customer is billed based on the actual usage of these services.

Pros and cons of cloud computing

Benefits:

Cost saving: With optimum use of computing, companies can reduce their capital expenditures and use operational expenditures for increasing computing capabilities. It has a low barrier to entry but requires few in-house IT resources to provide system support.

Scalability/flexibility: Computing gives companies an option of starting with a small deployment and grow to a large deployment at a rapid pace and then scale back if required. The flexibility in computing allows companies to use extra resources during peak times, thus enabling them to satisfy consumer demands.

Reliability: Cloud computing services with multiple redundant sites supports the business continuity and disaster recovery ensuring that computing is reliable.

Maintenance: The system maintenance and access through APIs which do not require application installations onto PCs is done by cloud service provider. Thus, it reduces maintenance requirements to a large extent for the user.

Mobile accessible: Mobile workers have increased the productivity of system, due to accessibility in the infrastructure which is available everywhere.

Challenges

Cloud computing services

One of the drawbacks of cloud computing is that there may be a slowdown while delivering more services in the cloud but it can also provide opportunities, if these issues are resolved with due care and attention in the planning stages.

Security and privacy

Symbol cloud storage protect on white background (done in 3d)

Security and privacy are two of the most crucial issues surrounding cloud computing related to storing and securing data, also while monitoring the use of the cloud by the service providers. These issues generally result in slowing the deployment of cloud services. One thing to be assured about cloud computing, in this case, is that these challenges can be addressed by storing the information internal to the organization, thus allowing it to be used in the cloud. For this to happen, the security mechanisms between the organization and the cloud need to be robust and a hybrid cloud can be used to support such a deployment.

Lack of standards: Despite having documented interfaces, clouds have no standards associated with them and therefore it is unlikely that most clouds will be interoperable. With the Open Grid Forum developing an Open Cloud Computing interface to resolve this issue, the Open Cloud Consortium is working on cloud computing standards and practices. Currently, the findings of these groups are at a maturing stage, but it is still not clear whether they will be able to address the needs of the people deploying the services and the specific interfaces these services need.

Continuous evolution: User requirements are continuously evolving, as are the requirements for interfaces, networking, and storage which implies that a “cloud”, especially a public one should not remain static and needs to be continuously evolved.

Compliance concerns: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US and Data Protection directives in the EU are among the two major compliance issues affecting cloud computing, based on the type of data and application for which the cloud is being used. In EU, there is a legislative backing for the data protection across its member states, whereas in US the data protection method is different and varies from state to state. This challenge results in Hybrid cloud deployment, with one cloud storing the data internal to the organization.

Cloud computing solutions

It can include IT infrastructure, development platforms, and software, although “cloud” can mean a lot of things to different people, but for IT professionals it offers a way to extend existing capacity and capabilities. Cloud services are essentially IT components like software, programming languages, networking and services that are delivered to organizations on-demand, usually on a pay-as-you-go or a subscription basis. Cloud service providers offers the organizations their utility type resources such as virtual machines, networking, and storage capacity. Cloud computing platforms are support structures meant to facilitate development environments using pooled and scalable resources. There are various software services which deliver applications using a multitenant architecture, since cloud resources can live both on and off premises or a combination of both, thereby employing a hybrid cloud model.

Cloud storage

It is a model of data storage in which the digital data is stored in logical pools, physical storage spanning multiple servers, and the physical environment which is typically owned and managed by a hosting company. These storage providers are responsible for keeping the data available and accessible, and the physical environment being protected and running. These storage services can be accessed through a co-located cloud computer service, a web service application programming interface (API) or by applications which utilize this APIs, such as cloud desktop storage, a cloud storage gateway, and the web based content management systems. Some of the notable features of a powerful, simple and cost effective cloud storage are as follows.

Durability: Google cloud storage is designed for a durability of 99.999999999% and it stores data redundantly with the use of automatic checksums to ensure data integrity. The user’s data is maintained in geographically distinct locations, with the help of multi-regional storage.

Availability: All storage classes offer very high availability leading to the accessibility of the data to the user whenever needed. Multi-regional storage offers 99.95% whereas regional storage offers 99.9% monthly availability in their service level agreement.

Scalability: Practically, the Google Cloud Storage is infinitely scalable and whether the user is supporting a small application or building a large exabyte-scale system, the cloud storage is capable of handling it.

Cloud hosting

These services provide hosting for websites on virtual servers which pull their computing resource from the extensive underlying networks of physical web servers. It follows the utility model of computing in which it is available as a service rather than as a product and is therefore compared with traditional utilities like electricity and gas. It exists as an alternative to hosting websites on single servers which can include either a dedicated server or a shared server and can be considered as an extension of clustered hosting, where the websites are hosted on multiple servers. However, with cloud hosting, the network of servers which are used is vast and often pulled from different data centers from different locations. Practical examples of cloud hosting can be considered under both the IaaS and PaaS classifications. Under IaaS offerings, the client is provided with the virtualized hardware resource on which they can install their own choice of software environment before building their web application whereas on a PaaS service, the client is also provided with the software environment on which they can go straight to installing and developing their web application. Businesses with complex IT infrastructures and experienced IT professionals may wish to opt for more customizable IaaS model but others may prefer PaaS option because of its easy operation. The deployment of cloud hosting for enterprise customers is the Virtual Data Center, which employs a virtualized network of servers in the cloud which can be used to host all the business’s IT operations which can include its website.

Another example of cloud hosting involves the use of public cloud models for hosting on virtual servers which pull resource from the same pool as other publicly available virtual servers and use the same public networks to transmit the data which is physically stored on the underlying shared servers which form the cloud resource. The public cloud includes security measures to ensure that the data is kept private and suffice for the website installation. In the situations where security and privacy is more of a concern, then businesses can turn towards cloud hosting in private clouds as an alternative for clouds which use ring-fenced resources irrespective of whether located on site or with the cloud partner. Following are the features and benefits of cloud hosting.

cloud computing example

Reliability: The website is hosted on a virtual partition which draws its resources like disk space from an extensive network of underlying physical servers. The benefit of such network is that, if one server goes offline, it dilutes the level of resource available to the cloud a little but without having any effect on the availability of the website whose virtual server will continue to pull resource from the remaining network of servers. It is observed that some cloud platforms can even survive an entire data center going offline, as the pooled cloud resource is being drawn from multiple data centers from different locations to spread the risk associated with it.

Physical security: As the underlying physical servers are housed within data centers, therefore, the benefit from the security measures are that these facilities after implementation will prevent people from accessing or disrupting them on-site.

Scalability and flexibility: The resource is available in real time on demand and is not limited to the physical constraints or capacity of one server. If a client’s site demands extra resource from its hosting platform because of spike in visitor traffic or due to the implementation of new functionality then the resource is accessed seamlessly. Even while using a private cloud model, the service can often be allowed to “burst” to access resources from the public cloud for non-sensitive processing due to the surges in activities on the site.

Utility style: In cloud hosting, the client only pays for what they actually use. Although, the resource is available for spike in demand, still there is no wasted capacity remaining unused in case of low demand.

Responsive load balancing: The software based load balancing enables instant scalability to respond to changing demands.

How Cloud Computing Works

One thing should be noticed that services provided by cloud computing work a little differently, depending on the provider. There are many who provide a friendly, browser-based dashboard which makes it easier for IT professionals and developers to order resources and manage their accounts. In order to give multiple options, some services are designed to work with REST APIs and a command-line interface.

Some of the common cloud computing example are Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Twitter, etc., web based email which is among one of the biggest computing services. Cloud computing e-mail solution allows the mechanics of hosting an e-mail server and maintain it to be taken out of user’s hand. This implies that one’s e-mail is accessible from anywhere. Some other examples include documents/spreadsheet hosting services, backup services, health care, government and banking and financial services.

Cloud infrastructure is a virtual infrastructure which is delivered or accessed via network or the internet. It refers to the on-demand services or products being delivered through the model which is highly automated computing resource complemented with storage and networking services, provided to the users. It is one of the basic product delivered by computing services through the IaaS model. With the use of this service, users can create their own IT infrastructure complete with processing, storage and networking fabric resources which can be configured in any way using a physical data center enterprise infrastructure. Cloud infrastructure includes virtual machines and components like virtual servers, virtual PCs, virtual network switches/hubs/routers, virtual memory, and virtual storage clusters.

Another concept which is related to cloud computing is the Cloud networking also called as cloud-based networking is used to describe the access of networking resources from a centralized third-party provider using WAN or the internet based technologies. In this type of networking, the network can be shared as well as used for cloud computing resources. In order to manage fewer customer devices with the network, it has spurred a trend of pushing more network management functions into the cloud.

cloud computing resources

A cloud application which is also known as cloud app, is an application program which functions in the cloud with the characteristics of both the pure desktop app and a pure web app. In case of a desktop app, it resides completely on a single device at the user’s location but doesn’t necessarily has to be a desktop computer while in case of a web app, it is stored entirely on a remote server and is delivered through a browser interface over the internet. Like desktop apps, cloud apps provide fast responsiveness and can also work offline. Also, cloud apps need not permanently reside on the local device, but they can be easily updated online. Therefore, these apps are under the constant control of users to prevent them from consuming large storage space on the user’s computer or communications device. Cloud apps can be used by anyone with a web browser and a communications device which can connect to the internet. Unlike a web app, cloud apps can be used on board an aircraft or in any other sensitive situation where wireless devices are not allowed since, the app will function even after disabling internet connection.

Deployment models:

  • Private cloud
  • Public cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud

Private cloud:

Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted either internally or externally. Undertaking a private cloud project requires a significant level and degree of engagement to virtualize the business environment, and requires the organization to reevaluate decisions about existing resources. When done right, it can improve business, but every step in the project raises security issues that must be addressed to prevent serious vulnerabilities. Self-run data centers[are generally capital intensive. They have a significant physical footprint, requiring allocations of space, hardware, and environmental controls. These assets have to be refreshed periodically, resulting in additional capital expenditures.

Public cloud:

A cloud is called a “public cloud” when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Public cloud services may be free. Technically there may be little or no difference between public and private cloud architecture, however, security consideration may be substantially different for services (applications, storage, and other resources) that are made available by a service provider for a public audience and when communication is effected over a non-trusted network. Generally, public cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google own and operate the infrastructure at their data center and access is generally via the Internet. AWS and Microsoft also offer direct connect services called “AWS Direct Connect” and “Azure ExpressRoute” respectively, such connections require customers to purchase or lease a private connection to a peering point offered by the cloud provider.

Hybrid cloud:

Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models. Hybrid cloud can also mean the ability to connect collocation, managed and/or dedicated services with cloud resources. A hybrid cloud service crosses isolation and provider boundaries so that it can’t be simply put in one category of private, public, or community cloud service. It allows one to extend either the capacity or the capability of a cloud service, by aggregation, integration or customization with another cloud service.

Hybrid cloud adoption depends on a number of factors such as data security and compliance requirements, level of control needed over data, and the applications an organization uses.

Distributed cloud

A cloud computing platform can be assembled from a distributed set of machines in different locations, connected to a single network or hub service. It is possible to distinguish between two types of distributed clouds: public-resource computing and volunteer cloud.

  • Public-resource computing—This type of distributed cloud results from an expansive definition of cloud computing, because they are more akin to distributed computing than cloud computing.
  • Volunteer cloud—Volunteer cloud computing is characterized as the intersection of public-resource computing and cloud computing, where a cloud computing infrastructure is built using volunteered resources. Many challenges arise from this type of infrastructure, because of the volatility of the resources used to built it and the dynamic environment it operates in. It can also be called peer-to-peer clouds, or ad-hoc clouds.
Intercloud
The Inter cloud is an interconnected global “cloud of clouds” and an extension of the Internet “network of networks” on which it is based. The focus is on direct interoperability between public cloud service providers, more so than between providers and consumers (as is the case for hybrid- and multi-cloud).[

Multicloud

Multicloud is the use of multiple cloud computing services in a single heterogeneous architecture to reduce reliance on single vendors, increase flexibility through choice, mitigate against disasters, etc. It differs from hybrid cloud in that it refers to multiple cloud services, rather than multiple deployment modes (public, private, legacy).

 

IT roles in the cloud:

Let us consider the probability that management and administration will require greater automation, requiring a change in the tasks of personnel responsible for scripting due to the growth in code production. You see, IT may be consolidating, with a need for less hardware and software implementation, but it is also creating new formations. The shift in IT is toward the knowledge worker. In the new paradigm, the technical human assets will have greater responsibilities for enhancing and upgrading general business processes.

The Developer

The growing use of mobile devices, the popularity of social networking, and other aspects of the evolution of commercial IT processes and systems, will guarantee work for the developer community; however, some of the traditional roles of development personnel will be shifted away from the enterprise’s developers due to the systemic and systematic processes of the cloud configuration model.

Cloud computing provides an almost unlimited capacity, eliminating scalability concerns. Cloud computing gives developers access to software and hardware assets that most small and mid-sized enterprises could not afford. Developers, using Internet-driven cloud computing and the assets that are a consequence of this configuration, will have access to resources that most could have only dreamed of in the recent past.

The administrator

Administrators are the guardians and legislators of an IT system. They are responsible for the control of user access to the network. This means sitting on top of the creation of user passwords and the formulation of rules and procedures for such fundamental functionality as general access to the system assets. The advent of cloud computing will necessitate adjustments to this process since the administrator in such an environment is no longer merely concerned about internal matters, but also the external relationship of his enterprise and the cloud computing concern, as well as the actions of other tenants in a public cloud.

This alters the role of the firewall constructs put in place by the administration and the nature of the general security procedures of the enterprise. It does not negate the need for the guardian of the system. With cloud computing comes even greater responsibility, not less. Under cloud computing, the administrator must not only ensure data and systems internal to the organization, they must also monitor and manage the cloud to ensure the safety of their system and data everywhere.

To cloud or not to cloud:

Risk assessment

The main concerns voiced by those moving to the cloud are security and privacy. The companies supplying cloud computing services know this and understand that without reliable security, their businesses will collapse. So security and privacy are high priorities for all cloud computing entities.

Governance:

How will industry standards be monitored?

Governance is the primary responsibility of the owner of a private cloud and the shared responsibility of the service provider and service consumer in the public cloud. However, given elements such as transnational terrorism, denial of service, viruses, worms and the like — which do or could have aspects beyond the control of either the private cloud owner or public cloud service provider and service consumer — there is a need for some kind of broader collaboration, particularly on the global, regional, and national levels. Of course, this collaboration has to be instituted in a manner that will not dilute or otherwise harm the control of the owner of the process or subscribers in the case of the public cloud.

Bandwidth requirements

If you are going to adopt the cloud framework, bandwidth and the potential bandwidth bottleneck must be evaluated in your strategy. In the CIO.com article: The Skinny Straw: Cloud Computing’s Bottleneck and How to Address It, the following statement is made:

Virtualization implementers found that the key bottleneck to virtual machine density is memory capacity; now there’s a whole new slew of servers coming out with much larger memory footprints, removing memory as a system bottleneck. Cloud computing negates that bottleneck by removing the issue of machine density from the equation—sorting that out becomes the responsibility of the cloud provider, freeing the cloud user from worrying about it.

For cloud computing, bandwidth to and from the cloud provider is a bottleneck.

So what is the best current solution for the bandwidth issue? In today’s market the best answer is the blade server. A blade server is a server that has been optimized to minimize the use of physical space and energy. One of the huge advantages of the blade server for cloud computing use is bandwidth speed improvement. For example, the IBM BladeCenter is designed to accelerate the high-performance computing workloads both quickly and efficiently. Just as the memory issue had to be overcome to effectively alleviate the bottleneck of virtual high machine density, the bottleneck of cloud computing bandwidth must also be overcome, so look to the capabilities of your provider to determine if the bandwidth bottleneck will be a major performance issue.

Financial impact

Because a sizable proportion of the cost in IT operations comes from administrative and management functions, the implicit automation of some of these functions will per se cut costs in a cloud computing environment. Automation can reduce the error factor and the cost of the redundancy of manual repetition significantly.

There are other contributors to financial problems such as the cost of maintaining physical facilities, electrical power usage, cooling systems, and of course administration and management factors. As you can see, bandwidth is not alone, by any means.

Mitigate the risk:

Consider these possible risks:

  • Adverse impact of mishandling of data.
  • Unwarranted service charges.
  • Financial or legal problems of vendor.
  • Vendor operational problems or shutdowns.
  • Data recovery and confidentiality problems.
  • General security concerns.
  • Systems attacks by external forces.

With the use of systems in the cloud, there is the ever-present risk of data security, connectivity, and malicious actions interfering with the computing processes. However, with a carefully thought out plan and methodology of selecting the service provider, and an astute perspective on general risk management, most companies can safely leverage this technology.

So this was all about the cloud computing definition, its services, companies, advantages and disadvantages, if you have any query regarding the post or anything else, you can leave a comment below we will reply to you at the earliest.

Advantages & Benefits of Cloud Computing

What is the cloud? Where is this cloud? And many more such types of questions you must have in your mind and will be asking to yourself. You are not aware of this fact but let me tell you that “cloud computing is everywhere”. So before moving on to the advantages of cloud computing let’s first understand what is cloud computing all about then only you all will be able to understand all its benefits and advantages.

In simple terms, cloud computing is used to store as well as access the data and programs over the internet instead of your hard drive. Cloud can be referred as just a metaphor for the internet. Also, the cloud computing is not only about as your hard drive. When you store some information or data or run the programs from the hard drive, this is called the local storage and computing. Everything that you require is close to you, which means that it gets easier for you to access the data. If you think that cloud is all about Network attached storage hardware or server in the residence then let me tell you this is not true. To consider it as the “cloud computing” you have to access the data and your programs over the internet or otherwise, that data should be synced with some other information over the web. So here we are going to discuss all the benefits of cloud computing.

 benefits of cloud computing

So nowadays cloud computing is not a new trend or technology, as the adoption of the cloud computing is increasing at a very fast speed and can be considered by the companies as one of the appropriate and promising options in recent years that not only decreases the costs bit also to position the offerings and services competitively. Cloud computing have transformed all its way the business is conducted, service is delivered and the technology consumed.

Cloud computing offers its customers many economic advantages, agility, speed, flexibility, scalability, accessibility and innovation. Most of the companies are looking towards cloud computing as one of the strategic move which impacts their business and rather than just being a cost effective approach. Industries or organizations are getting more responsive than they were earlier by adopting the digital business strategy, IT industry is also witnessing nowadays a growth in the adoption of cloud computing services that indicates the shift from IT services to the cloud-based services. There are some of the factors that one should look for while adopting the cloud computing services/ technology.

Factors to consider while adopting Cloud computing

Cloud computing should be the strategic move by the organizations while adopting that consists of the careful planning, execution and the management taking into consideration the long-term goal to get the desired results as it is one of the major decision to be made by any organization. The adoption of cloud computing starts from the identifying right type of cloud provider from whom you will taking advantage of cloud computing services, transitioning the client servers / web server hosted systems to cloud and then at last implementing suitable type of automation/ third party tools to enable the the migration and also while giving all importance to the testing to ensure that data, applications or software that are migrated to or are hosted on the cloud work as the intended. Below 3 major points have been listed down that one should look for while adopting the cloud computing.

advantages of cloud computing

  • At first, the organizations should evaluate the suitability of the deployment models that are available such as public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud. And from all of these choose the best one that matches with your business goals.
  • Nest thing that organizations should go for is that the organizations should assess all the 3 main cloud service models that are SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, which one is best for their business and as per the availability in the market.
  • Now the last one and most important also, cloud computing involves 5 most important characteristics as mentioned here- demand self-service, resource pooling, measured service, broad network access and rapid elasticity. So, the organizations who are planning to adopt cloud computing services should also take this point into consideration.

Now lets’ move on the some of the major benefits or advantages of cloud storage.

Cloud Computing Advantages

Below is the list of cloud computing benefits that one should look for before opting the technology.

Cost Savings:

If you are worried the cost that will be incurred while making a switch and adopting the cloud computing services then let me ensure you that you are not all alone. As 20% of the organizations are worried about the costs that will be there in implementing the cloud-based server as the initial cost. But as you are concerned about the initial cost of cloud computing so you must also consider the advantages and benefits of using cloud computing.

As once you are on the cloud, then it will be so easier for you to access the company’s data which will save your time as well as money in the project start-ups. Also for all those who are worried that they might have to pay for the features that they don’t even need then there is no need to worry as there are most of the cloud computing services that are based on pay-as-you-go. This means that if you don’t benefit of what is offered to you by cloud then you don’t need to spend money on that. Pay-as-you-go system is also applied to data storage space that is needed to service your stakeholders and clients that mean means that you will get the space as required by you.

Security:

One of the major that holds the organizations from taking the cloud service is security. The major concern is that all the files, programs as well as other data is not secured on the site then how one can know that they all are being protected. But you might not know that the cloud host’s full time is just to carefully monitor the security and accordingly it is one of the most efficient methods than the conventional in-house system where an organization divides all its efforts between the myriad of IT concerns, with security as one of them. While most of the organizations don’t like to consider the possibility of the internal data theft but this is the bitter truth which is the staggeringly high percentage of the data thefts occurs internally and which is penetrated by the employees. So in this case, it is intelligence to keep the sensitive information off-site.

There is a claim from RapidScale that 94 percent of businesses saw improvement in the security when switched to the cloud and also 91 percent also said that cloud makes it much easier to meet all the government compliance requirements. The key to this cloud computing security is the encryption of the information or data which is being transmitted over the networks and stored in the databases. As you might aware that by means of encryption data is less accessible by the hackers and is less prone to get hacked. In cloud as an added security measure, with most of the cloud-based services, many different security settings can also be set and based on the user.

Flexibility:

Cloud computing provides as much flexibility with its services that you can’t even think of. So if your current IT solutions are for actually forcing you to commit and provide so much of your attention to the computer as well as data storage issues then you will not be able to concentrate and reach to the business goal that is set by you and the customers will also not satisfied by you. On the other hand, by relying upon some other outside organization to take care of all the IT hosting and infrastructure, here you have to devote more time towards the aspects of your business which directly affects your bottom line.

So from here, one can infer that cloud offers organizations or businesses much more flexibility overall comparing to the hosting on a local server. Also if you require extra bandwidth, then cloud-based service can fulfill that demand instantly rather than undergoing expensive as well as a much complex update to your IT infrastructure.  This improved flexibility and freedom provided to you by the cloud can increase your overall efficiency.

Mobility: Cloud computing also provides this facility to mobile access to corporate data via your smartphones and any other device, as considering the fact that over 2.6 of the billion smartphones are actually being used overall in the world, and it is one of a great way to ensure that no one should leave out from the loop. The staff of the corporate with that busy schedule or all those who live a long way away from the offices, all those can take advantage of this feature to always remain up to date with their coworkers and clients. With the cloud, you can also provide the accessible information to the sales staff who travel to [places, remote employees, freelance employees for the much better work life balance.  So there is no surprise that organizations for their employee satisfaction are up to 24 percent much more likely to expand the cloud usage.

Insight: As we are moving ahead into the digital era it is becoming much more clear that “Knowledge is the power” has actually taken a modern form and can be now said as “Data is money”.As hidden in the millions of bits of the data that is actually surrounding your customer transactions as well as business processes are such nuggets of invaluable, and actionable information which is just waiting to be get identified and acted upon.

Many of the cloud-based storage solutions also offer the integrated cloud analytics for the bird’s eye view of your own data.  As when your data will be stored in the cloud, you can easily implement all the tracking mechanisms and also to build the customized reports to analyze the information organization-wide. From all those insights collectively one can increase the efficiency and build the action plans to meet all the organizational goals.

Increased Collaboration: Thinking upon that which organization can take advantage from this then note down that if your company is having more than the two employees then you must make collaboration your top and main priority. As there is no use if the team can’t work as being in a team. Cloud computing makes collaboration a much simpler process. All the team members in the company can easily now easily view and share the information and securely across the cloud-based platform. Some of the cloud-based services also provide the collaborative social spaces to connect to the employees across the organization. , therefore increasing the engagement as well as interest. Collaboration is also possible without the cloud computing but it will not be that effective.

Quality Control: In the cloud computing you will get all the documents and data are stored in the one place and even in the single format. Also, everyone will be accessing the same information, so you can maintain the consistency in the data, can avoid human error and will also have all the clear records of any revisions done and updates.  And conversely, managing the information in the silos can also lead to the employees to save the different versions of the documents that can also lead to the confusion and diluted data.

Disaster Recovery: This is one of the factors that leads to the success of the business in under control. , But unfortunately no matter how your organization is being controlled when it comes to the own processes, there will always be the things which are out of the control and if we see in today’s market also even the small amount of unproductive downtime can have the negative effect. Downtime can lead to the lost productivity revenue and brand reputation. But also there might not be any of the ways to actually prevent or anticipate disasters which could potentially harm the organization, and there is something which you can do to help the speed up your recovery process.

cloud computing benefits

Loss Prevention: If the organization is not investing into the cloud computing solution then all of your data which is very much valuable in inseparably tied to office computers it actually resides in. This may not seem like the problem but in reality, if we see that if the local hardware experience some kind of problem then you can lose your data for permanent basis. This is the most common problem that you can realize, there are so many reasons by which computers can actually malfunction such as the viral infections, age-related hardware deterioration or a simple user error, anything can be a reason. Or despite all these, they can be stolen or misplaced. So if you are not on the cloud then you might be at risk of losing your data/ information that has been stored by you locally. Whereas with the cloud-based servers, all the information that you have uploaded to the cloud remains the safe and easily accessible too from any system just with an internet connection.

Automatic Software updates: Now for all of those who have to wait for the system updated to get installed and then they can start their work which is very much irritating. You might not be aware but all the cloud-based applications automatically refresh and also update themselves instead of giving burden on to the IT department to perform manual updates which are also a time taking the task. This saves your valuable time and money that you have to spend on outside the IT consultation.

Competitive Edge: While cloud computing is becoming so popular but still there are many people who usually prefer to keep each and everything local. This is their choice but there is a disadvantage of this as they will be competing to all those who have the benefit of cloud computing in their business. And if you will implement the cloud-based solution all before your competitors then you will further along the learning curve by the time your competitors catch up.

Sustainability: Real sustainability requires the solutions of all the problems that actually deals with the wastefulness at every level of the business.  Hosting on to the cloud is much more environment-friendly and can also result in the carbon footprint. But here in cloud computing, it supports the environmental proactivity.  That are powering the virtual services rather than the physical products and hardware and cutting down the paper waste, improving the energy efficiency and  minimizing the computer related emissions

So all these were the advantages of cloud computing. If you have any query regarding the post or anything else you can leave a comment below, we will reply to you at the earliest.