Cloud Computing Origins
“If computers of the kind I have advocated become the computers of the future, then computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility. … The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry.” (John McCarthy, 1961)
The Story Thus Far
Cloud Computing as a term to define the new I.T segment at the time did not show up until 2006, when Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services were launched. With EC2, users were able to opt for a leased computing utility model. The year also saw Google Apps come to the front and started marketing to enterprises aggressively for the platform.
Cloud Computing Definition
Amongst the many definitions available today, perhaps the one that stands out also encapsulates its alternatives. It is due to this that the definition from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has received across-the-board acceptance in the industry. This is how the definition goes according to NIST:
“Cloud computing is a specialized form of distributed computing that introduces utilization models for remotely provisioning scalable and measured resources.”
Why Cloud Computing?
It has more to do with environment than anything else. An I.T environment to be precise. This environment is a distinctively designed space where scalable and measurable I.T resources would be provisioned remotely towards meeting the objectives of businesses whose drivers enabled the Cloud Computing concept in the first place.
This distinct I.T environment enables users to have access to decentralized I.T resources over a vast network of networks.
Since, the concept was modeled after the Internet (network of networks), the Cloud became an un-official commercial identification mark on the new computing model.
Most Cloud environments exhibit common characteristics that, if utilized and supported to a greater degree, will yield even greater benefits.
The characteristics include On-Demand Usage, Ubiquitous Access, Multi-tenancy (Resourcing Pooling), Elasticity (and Scalability), Measured Usage, and Resiliency.
Cloud consumers can then measure these against their requirements in order to find out the most efficient Cloud service provider.
Cloud Delivery and Deployment Models
When I.T resources are offered in a pre-packaged model by Cloud Service Providers, they take the form of one of three of the following:
Together, they can also work in tandem when combined. When cloud environments move into the realm of size and ownership, the models come forward in the form of cloud deployment models, which include
- Community Clouds
- Other Deployment Models
Is This An Overcast?
Probably yes. But not in the sense that you may imagine. This overcast is intended to be good. Even great! Any service that requires and/or consumes I.T resources and that which is provisioned remotely over the Cloud can be called a Cloud Service.
Since, the word ‘service’ may bring about many ill-constructed paths to its understanding in the Cloud context, a huge number of provisioning models have emerged. These are now called the “as-a-service” models (e.g. Software as a Service or S.a.a.S).
Will The Cloud Rain?
Probably yes! As an alternative to traditional I.T resource provisioning models, Cloud Computing combines the very best of I.T administration, hosting, deployment, and Management benefits once adopted.
The most obvious benefits include a significant reduction in associated investments and relative costs, scalability, uptime, and security.
What If The Cloud Turns Into A Tornado?
Most of the documented challenges and risks inherent with the Cloud Computing model include the Public Cloud deployment model. Associated risks include matters related to vulnerabilities, governance, migration and portability, and regulations and compliance.
Cloud Computing – Ending Comment
Cloud computing is gaining appeal & recognition as it enables data centers to function like Internet – it allows accessibility and sharing of computing resources as virtual resource hub in a secured and scalable way.
It is also cost effective due to its pay per use model, medium sized businesses & home based users are considering cloud as the most feasible option available.