Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 1006
, Published on 10 September 2016
Cloud computing is undoubtedly the new buzzword in the information technology paradigm. Technically speaking, cloud technology refers to a system of networked computers, servers, and data storage that allow information to be accessed via the Internet from anywhere at any time. Forrester defines cloud computing as: “A pool of abstracted, highly scalable, and managed computer infrastructure capable of hosting end-customer applications and billed by consumption.” This evolution in the computation world delivers to most basic of the problems that was the sharing and sustainable use of data and by data I mean everything in the paradigm of computing resources, from applications to services, from images to movies, from small softwares to fully-developed databases, from service to all kinds of information. Gone are the times when people used to build interfaces just to use or provide their pooled data or services to end-user or even themselves, the complications that came with building an interface were dependability and security of that specific interface additionally the high cost and support.
Then came cloud computing also known as on-demand computing, a pay-per-use self-service management model, a dynamically scalable infrastructure for such instances. Previously technologies like grid computing, autonomic computing etc. also attempted to provide a better platform for the usage of IT capabilities but none were as convenient and effective as the cloud computing technology.
¬-In the 1960s IT giants like IBM and DEC had a system of data processing by mainframe computers on the request of remote workstations, known as Remote Job Entry, which was an example of client-server architecture, due to which people realized the need of time-sharing i.e., the ability to use computer resources among many users. Also during this time-period a new paradigm was added to the Computation world that was Virtualization.
-In the 1970s platforms such as Multics, Camridge CTSS, earliest version of UNIX came up with the full time-sharing solutions.
-In 1980s companies like Apple and Microsoft developed their respective operating systems technologies showing that virtualization holds the key to the future of the computational world.
-In the 1990s telecommunication companies started providing a more-cost effective Virtual Private Network services (VPNs). Also at the end of 1990s Grid Computing (collection of computer resources for a particular task in a grid format i.e., each unit independent of each other and are connected to one main unit or server) was introduced.
-As the resource sharing and virtual methods advanced they both were assimilated together was and in 2006, Amazon launched its Elastic Compute Cloud as a commercial web service that allowed small companies and individuals to rent computers to run their own computer applications marked the beginning of CLOUD COMPUTATION.
-After that several companies came up with their own cloud networks, NASA’s OpenNebula and OpenStack, Microsoft Azure, IBM SmartCloud, Oracle Cloud,etc.
Cloud Computing models:
1. Software as a Service (SaaS): Highly scalable internet based applications are hosted on the cloud and offered as services to the end-user. Example- GoogleDocs, acrobat.com, salesforce.com, etc.
2. Platform as a Service (Paas): Here, the platforms used to design, develop build and test applications are provided by the cloud infrastructure. Example- Force.com, Azure Service Platform, Google App Engine, etc.
3. Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas): Here, user has to pay as per the use, services include storage, database management and computational works. Example- Amazon Web Services, GoGrid, 3 Terra, etc.
Types of clouds:
1. Public Cloud- These are owned and operated by organizations and this “pay-on-the-go” model could be used by anyone just like a telephone call.
2. Private Cloud- With better control and security than any other cloud, hosted either internally or externally, these infrastructures are solely for a particular organization and is used by all its comprising members.
3. Hybrid Cloud- By combining both public and private cloud, this infrastructure makes computing more flexible. The ability to augment a private cloud with the resources of a public cloud can be utilized to deal with any unforeseen surges in workload.
The fact that this is a pay-per-use model, it’s not purchased and the low maintenance of cloud infrastructure makes it the most cost-effective computing technology. To take this argument even further, we could imply that since it allows several users to share a common infrastructure, saving electricity and investment considerably it is the greenest form of computing. The cloud offers unlimited storage capacity which is a huge advantage, due to which sudden workload spikes can be managed more effectively and efficiently. Since world changes every day, business advances even further, more techs and applications are added to the market, pools of data are added to the network mankind adapts quickly to these changes, so does cloud. This flexibility factor takes it a step ahead than any other technology.
Since cloud network is completely under the supervision of the service provider and not an enterprise (except for private cloud which is costliest of all types), the delicate data and business secrets make organizations reluctant to use cloud technology although encryptions, password protections and role-based access provide some assurance but still data remains vulnerable. Although SaaS is efficiently managed but the platforms and infrastructures shared through cloud still lacks such a management and have a room for improvement. In some of the European countries, Government regulations do not allow sensitive information to be physically located outside the country. Thus, cloud providers has set up data center and storage site within the country. Having such an infrastructure may not always be feasible and is a big challenge for cloud providers.
In the age where data is everything, cloud computing is the best accelerator mankind has to advance in computation world. It is still a widely researched topic throughout the globe.
This article has been authored by Saurabh Kumar from IIM Raipur