How did the Concept of Cloud Computing Emerge?
Lately, it was observed that the growing IT infrastructure and expanding business organizations faced troubles in dealing and commencing with their daily work operations due to limited resources and less professional IT work force. Although, for storing and securing data there were file servers & physical drive, etc. but they couldn’t provide businesses with complete freedom to managing hardware and software stuff. Plus, multiple data centers are required at scattered locations for recovery disaster and backup.
For every new application to be developed and run smoothly on the operating systems, organizations had to make provisions for entering and storing new advancements in their in-house technology infrastructure. Therefore, keeping all the above mentioned factors in mind, organizations required;
- A unique
- Competent and
- Efficient methodology for incorporating it in their infrastructures.
Perhaps, the introduction of dedicated hosting servers had brought about several changes in the routine operations of these organizations. They still lacked certain amount of oxygen to drive their operations more efficiently and effectively. This was when cloud computing came into being, for
- Raising scalability
- Being more flexible
- Promoting availability
- Reliability and
- Extremely compliant with its associated technology platforms etc.
Introduction to Cloud Computing
The model of cloud computing is based on three fundamental principles that when implemented in the corporate environment can bring about commendable changes;
- IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
- PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and
- SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).
Let us explain each one of them individually.
Infrastructure of any organization comprise of hardware, software, networking components, servers and storage spaces. With cloud computing IaaS platform, organizations can not only become device independent but can also enjoy working in the virtual world. Your hardware requirements can be outsourced – offsite servers, networking and storage equipments are offered by IaaS service providers along with liberation from maintenance cost & office space.
Microsoft, VMWare, Rackspace and Amazon are some big names amongst various IaaS service provider.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) :
In this segment, organizations can share and access all the software delivery models remotely via web based Internet. This means, such applications are run virtually through virtual servers and are paid for as per their use.
On the contrary, buying licensed software applications can prove to be more expensive and thus, does not prove to be a cost-effective method.
As the name narrates PaaS area of cloud computing delivers a medium for developers for creation and development of software applications virtually. All the content management systems like Joomla and WordPress are platforms that are usually pre-configured & open source, which allow IT professionals to develop software applications remotely.
After having a brief overview of the three platforms of cloud computing let us know which organizations are into managed cloud solutions and what do they offer their customers. Besides other businesses popping in the cloud industry, the already established kings of cloud computing include Google, Microsoft and Amazon.
Google Docs & Google Apps Engine
Google Docs, a master creation by Google invites businesses to work on its virtual Software-as-a-Service platform where they can:
- Share and access spreadsheets, presentations and upload files etc among others.
- The cloud application works in this fashion that users can register themselves at the Google Docs and get started with promotion of tasks.
Another accomplishment is their Apps Engine. It is one of the Google’s PaaS arenas where developers build and construct software applications on the existing systems for scalable and flexible results.
Microsoft’s Windows Azure
This particular cloud formed by Microsoft. It has been a consistent performer for businesses that face problems while managing and deploying enterprise applications.
The application comes free for three months and is compatible with almost all the popular computer languages like .net, Java and PHP etc among others.
Amazon EC 2 (Elastic Cloud Compute) and SSE S3
With the advent of Amazon’s EC2, cloud industry boomed tremendously inviting more and more organizations to work on this platform. Prime purpose of using this platform is the fact that it offers developers a re-sizable compute capacity in the cloud. Not only this, the task of web scale computing becomes easier.
While, Amazon’s Server Side Encryption in its Simple Storage Server cloud platform encourages users to encrypt their confidential data stored at rest in Amazon S3.
Types of Cloud Computing Architecture
Using all the three platforms cloud computing has come up with three models namely;
Public Cloud Model is created for businesses that wish to promote their services and products on a large scale. In a public cloud model users can access and share data as well as information from anywhere across the globe and at any point of time.
Although, an extremely reliable source of sharing and accessing data, security issues still remain a concerning factor.
Private Cloud Model is created to deploy within the in-house business environment protected by the firewall settings.
This type of model is said to be one of the most reliable and secure cloud model because only single business entity has a full control over the best cloud server and the access is given to only the authorized parties involved in managing the cloud.
Hybrid Cloud, as the name conveys is a mixture of two cloud models. It has features of both public as well as private clouds and serve organizations in the similar fashion as the other two.
The only difference lies between the hybrid cloud form and the other two forms is the fact that before deploying hybrid cloud architecture businesses should understand their cloud requirements and then decide on availing cloud services.
Why Cloud and not the Traditional IT Methods?
It has been clear that when cloud computing model was introduced, it was introduced with a view to give the business environment a highly flexible and scalable environment, which the traditional IT methods lacked.
Thus, cloud computing and its managed services has captured the business place to a great extent leaving behind other technologies and age old IT methods.
Significant Points about Cloud Computing
Flexibility: Customization of software applications and hardware infrastructure, is one of the biggest unique selling propositions of cloud computing.
Device Independence: A world free from hardware and software stuff gives rise to virtualization. You data become device independent once you have stored it on cloud – which archived it in a redundant manner on multiple servers. Similarly your apps become device independent as you can access them via web browser instead of specific system.
Monitoring: Thus, monitoring and managing cloud server is supposed to be one of the very important things in cloud computing. It provides a secured platform to users in terms of safeguarding the confidentiality of the data in transit and as well as at rest.
Let us understand this context by taking some examples from the industry.
Bromium: A UK based Cloud Company that offers services and products related to cloud security and safeguard its client’s identity from illegal and unauthorized parties, making it platform to perform daily task and operations.
Cipher Cloud: Another example of company that offers its services and products to the users is Cipher Cloud. The company is a California based that specializes in cloud data encryption and tokenization. Users who face security problems can be benefited with their products and services that focus upon securing data at rest and in transit to in motion.
Mentioned companies are cloud security providers that have been working towards improving and enhancing the security concerns related to cloud computing. Thus, it is clear that cloud is here to stay for sure. Its future prospects are bright and expansion of more and more IT firms is expected with cloud evolution
Cloud Computing would probably cut down operational IT costs of various organizations. Although, the matter has been talked about for last so many years now, with the evolution of cloud technology things have seem to become easy. According to the U.S government, a fraction of the amount of budget kept for IT and its related services should be spend on improving cloud technology as well. This would enable cloud platform to reach every commercial business unit making all the cloud operations easier to handle and manage.