STEP 1. What is Cloud Computing?
- Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet.
- Cloud Services allow individuals and businesses to use software and hardware that are managed by third parties at remote locations.
- Cloud computing model allows access to information and computer resources from anywhere that a network connection is available.
STEP 2. Examples of Cloud services :-
- Include online file storage, social networking sites, web-mail, and online business applications.
- Many people use social networking sites or web-mail, and these are cloud services. Photographs that people once kept on their own computers are now being stored on servers owned by third parties. These are also examples of cloud services.
- Cloud services are popular because people can access their e-mail, social networking site or photo service from anywhere in the world, at any time, at minimal or no charge.
STEP 3. Why organizations are interested in Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of owning and operating computers and networks. If an organization uses a cloud provider, it does not need to spend money on information technology infrastructure, or buy hardware or software licenses. Cloud services can often be customized and flexible to use, and providers can offer advanced services that an individual company might not have the money or expertise to develop.
STEP 4. Cloud Computing Models :-
Cloud Providers offer services that can be grouped into three categories.
Software as a Service (SaaS) :-
In this model, a complete application is offered to the customer, as a service on demand. A single instance of the service runs on the cloud & multiple end users are serviced. On the customers‟ side, there is no need for upfront investment in servers or software licenses, while for the provider, the costs are lowered, since only a single application needs to be hosted & maintained. Today SaaS is offered by companies such as Google, Sales force, Microsoft, Zoho, etc.
Platform as a Service (Paas) :-
Here, a layer of software or development environment is encapsulated & offered as a service, upon which other higher levels of service can be built. The customer has the freedom to build his own applications, which run on the provider’s infrastructure. To meet manageability and scalability requirements of the applications, PaaS providers offer a predefined combination of OS and application servers, such as LAMP platform (Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP), restricted J2EE, Ruby etc. Google’s App Engine, Force.com, etc are some of the popular PaaS examples.
Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) :-
IaaS provides basic storage and computing capabilities as standardized services over the network. Servers, storage systems, networking equipment, data centre space etc. are pooled and made available to handle workloads. The customer would typically deploy his own software on the infrastructure. Some common examples are Amazon, GoGrid, 3 Tera, etc.
STEP 5. Advantages of Cloud Computing :-
Some of the typical benefits are as listed below:
- Reduced Cost :- There are a number of reasons to attribute Cloud technology with lower costs. The billing model is pay as per usage; the infrastructure is not purchased thus lowering maintenance. Initial expense and recurring expenses are much lower than traditional computing.
- Increased Storage :- With the massive Infrastructure that is offered by Cloud providers today, storage & maintenance of large volumes of data is a reality. Sudden workload spikes are also managed effectively & efficiently, since the cloud can scale dynamically.
- Flexibility :- This is an extremely important characteristic. With enterprises having to adapt, even more rapidly, to changing business conditions, speed to deliver is critical. Cloud computing stresses on getting applications to market very quickly, by using the most appropriate building blocks necessary for deployment.
STEP 6. Some of the Challenges of Cloud Computing :-
- Data Protection :- Data Security is a crucial element that warrants scrutiny. Enterprises are reluctant to buy an assurance of business data security from vendors. They fear losing data to competition and the data confidentiality of consumers. In many instances, the actual storage location is not disclosed, adding onto the security concerns of enterprises. In the existing models, firewalls across data centers (owned by enterprises) protect this sensitive information. In the cloud model, Service providers are responsible for maintaining data security and enterprises would have to rely on them.
- Data Recovery and Availability :- All business applications have Service level agreements that are stringently followed. Operational teams play a key role in management of service level agreements and run-time governance of applications. In production environments, operational teams support Appropriate clustering and Fail over Data Replication System monitoring (Transactions monitoring, logs monitoring and others) Maintenance (Run-time Governance) Disaster recovery Capacity and performance management If, any of the above mentioned services is under-served by a cloud provider, the damage & impact could be severe.
- Management Capabilities :- Despite there being multiple cloud providers, the management of platform and infrastructure is still in its infancy. Features like “Auto-scaling”.
There is huge potential to improve on the scalability and load balancing features provided today.
STEP 7. Free e-books and Pdf’s :-
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With this we complete our article on Introduction to Cloud Computing and benefits of Cloud Computing. I hope you will like my very first article under “Cloud Computing Tutorials”. Your feedbacks and queries are welcome below as Comments. In the future articles, we will cover more about Cloud Computing and will try to learn Cloud Computing into depth.