Cloud Computing From 60,000 Feet


Introduction:

“It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing – they should be in a ‘cloud’ somewhere. And that if you have the right kind of browser or the right kind of access, it doesn’t matter whether you have a PC or a Mac or a mobile phone or a BlackBerry or what have you – or new devices still to be developed – you can get access to the cloud…”
– Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, August 2006

In my opinion…

“Clouds are always good. For farmers it brings the sign of hope and confidence, for Company CIOs and CTOs, it brings the sign of growth in terms of effort and money savings at the edge of the competitive environment…”

One question that every CIO and CTO wants to have answer of “How to reduce the resources like servers without reducing the overall computational power and the profitability.”

Cloud Computing could be the ultimate answer.

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As a user, when we are accessing the data from any device, from any location, we have no idea how processing of information is going around in the cloud. It’s just like a black box. 

Virtualization is the heart of Cloud computing.

Cloud can be classified as two broad categories:

  • Public Cloud
  • Private Cloud

Public Cloud:

Public Cloud could be any cloud maintained somewhere outside the company’s firewall/boundaries on some public domain. It has virtual data centers maintained by the cloud providers.

Believe or not, “Anyone with a web-based email account or a profile on a social network is already taking advantage of public cloud computing, whether they know it or not.” 

Advantages:

  • With this kind of model, information can be dynamically delivered on demand [subscription basis] and accessed from anywhere anytime. 
  • Resources in the cloud can be shared between multiple users and so they can be utilized to the maximum extend.
  • As cloud is outside companies boundaries, there is no way to know if anything is changed or upgraded because of some failure or unknown reason.
  • Any company can buy the raw processing power and the storage capacity and thus they can avoid the headache of maintaining it. It is best for the small or medium sized organizations as they do not have to buy any physical hardware or expertise to maintain it.
  • In terms of cost and usage, public cloud can be compared with the electricity usage. When you require it, switch on it, use it and pay for it. When you don’t, just switch off it and you do not have to pay for it. It’s called pay on demand.

Disadvantages:

  • Without proper security model, Public cloud could be prone to the security breaches and could lead to the failure. This could be termed as cloud bursting. Also, many companies do not want to put their sensitive data or IPR [intellectual property rights] data or mission critical transactions on to the public cloud.
  • Consumers will not have any control on the way, data could be stored/retrieved/accessed from the cloud.
  • The cost of using public clouds for extended period of time can turn out to be more expensive than owning the infrastructure in-house.

Private Cloud:

Private Cloud is confined to the company’s boundaries and is accessed from the outside world via firewall. Though with this kind of model, information can be dynamically delivered on demand but it can only be accessed by the authorized users from anywhere anytime with proper security boundaries via a firewall.

Advantages:

  • Without any fear, companies can put their mission critical transactions and data in their private data centers. This is the key advantage of Private cloud that they are more secure as IT department will have more control over the data and the way it can be accessed.

Disadvantages:

  • Due to the cost of hardware, data center space, technical expertise to know how to create and maintain it, it is not recommended for small or medium sized organizations.
  • Companies following this approach of private cloud are missing the benefits of the infinite processing power, infinite capacity, flexibility and Pay on demand offered by the public cloud.

Conclusion:

As I have explained above that both Private and Public cloud has advantages and disadvantages so just using/adapting any one might not give the full benefits of the cloud computing. Using the mixture of both could be the good idea.

Public cloud can be used for non – sensitive data like it can host QA environment or the storage of less sensitive data. With proper security boundaries like with VPN, even some important data like email server can be hosted on the public cloud.

Private cloud can be used to host the sensitive data that requires high amount of security.

Reference:

White Paper: “A Cloud Guide For HPC
Top Drivers, Barriers, Use Cases, and Vendor Requirements for Private and Public HPC Cloud Computing” by Mr. Ashar Baig
www.univaud.com

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8 thoughts on “Cloud Computing From 60,000 Feet

  1. Nice introduction.

    This one remind me one of the economics principle “law of diminishing marginal utility”, i.e. for each additional resource (in computer your case) the marginal utility we will get will be less than the previous one and after some time it is not only zero but negative. In other words at that time adding more computer will reduce the performance rather than improve it. 🙂

  2. The author has very nicely introduced the concept of cloud computing. I congratulate him for his effort.
    The past 37 years of my association with computers has given me a habit of learning new computer buzzwords. So, colude computing is another buzzword for me. if I understood it correctly form the article, in cloud computing the wired communications between a dumb Terminal and main-frame computers has been replaced by wireless communications between a smart PC and Intelligent server clusters. Of course, these servers provide much better services, tools and techniques, hidden somewhere behind an imaginary cloud but to me, essentially it is an old gift wrapped in new shiny packet. Howerver, I see a lot of good ideas are reemerging and certainly, in the changed environment, it would help computer users reduce the computing cost through resource sharing. Especially, in the scenario that in the main-frame era the software cost almost nothing but now software cost is approximately 95% of the total system cost.

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