Understanding Cloud Computing

Introduction

We have often come across the term ‘Cloud Computing’ and have often wondered about the term as such. With so much enigma surrounding this technology, it would only work best to understand this ever evolving technology in this blog.
Wikipedia defines Cloud Computing as the use of computing resources both hardware and software, that are delivered as a service over a network (the internet).
Simply put, Cloud Computing is an internet based computing where multiple services including storage, application, storage, etc. get delivered through the internet. Cloud computing has made it easier to store, process as well as access data and applications over the internet from the earlier process of accessing it from the system’s hard drive.
The term ‘Cloud’ is actually derived out of the cloud shape that connotes the internet in graphics.
Cloud Computing essentially has 3 Service Models and 4 Deployment Models, each of which is explained below:
The 3 Service Models:

  • Infrastructure-as-service (IaaS)
  • Platform-as-service (PaaS)
  • Software-as-service (SaaS)

Infrastructure as Service (IaaS)

Also called, Hardware-as-a-services (HaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is a technology where organizations outsource their equipment that are used to assist in operations that include among the others the storage servers and the hardware and networking components. The operation goes like this- the service provider is the owner of the equipment and is responsible for its configuration, maintenance as well as its upkeep whereas the client on its part pays on a per-user basis. IaaS helps by providing a standardized, dynamic, flexible and at times a virtual environment for the end user.
The Characteristics of IaaS

  • A virtualization of the desktop
  • Internet availability utilization of the billing model
  • Computerized administrative tasks
  • Utility computing services
  • Policy-based services
  • Active scaling

Amazon Web services and AT&T would feature in the prominent list of companies that offer IaaS.

2. Platform as Service (PaaS)

This is another service model of Cloud Computing that provides application execution services including application runtime storage and integration. This model incorporates the provider providing the servers, storage, network and other services on the one hand and on the other, the consumer controls the deployment as well as the configuration settings.
PaaS Features:

  • Facilitation of the hosting capabilities
  • Designing as well as developing of the application
  • An integration of the web services and the databases
  • Providing security, scalability and storage
  • Versioning of the application as well as the application
  • instrumentation
  • Testing and deployment facilities

Google App Engine and Openstack are some of the prominent organizations that offer fantastic career opportunities to trained professionals.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

As one of the cloud computing service models, SaaS provides multiple business processes as well as applications including, CRM, e mail support, etc. SaaS helps in enhancing both the cost and the delivery in return of a very miniscule level of customization in the process of representing a shift involved in the operational risks between the consumer to the provider. All the infrastructure and IT functions are then distanced away from the consumer. SaaS is often referred to as an on demand software and normally gets paid on a pay-per-use basis through a subscription fee.

The Characteristics of SaaS would include:

  • A centralized application
  • Outsourcing of the hardware as well as the software support to the cloud provider
  • Upscaling the prospective of the organization by decreasing its IT operational expenses.
  • Quicker software testing happening as SaaS applications need only a single configuration.
  • There is a more effective of understanding the areas that need corrections as the solutions provider incorporates the user behavior within itself.

Microsoft Office 365 apart from Salesforce are two of the most noticeable companies that offer SaaS.

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

There are essentially 4 types of Cloud Computing Deployment Models:

  • The Private Cloud
  • The Public Cloud
  • The Hybrid Cloud
  • The Community Cloud.

Let us try and understand each of them in brief:

The Private Cloud

In this the hosting gets built and maintained only for a specific client wherein the infrastructure for the hosting could be either on the premises or on a third party location. Even though the Private Cloud is not the very best of options to augment costs, nevertheless 1.it has proven to be a bonanza for 2 reasons:
It has turned out to be a fabulous deployment model from the security angle. When companies start to implement cloud computing, they face enormous security issues including data security issues. The private cloud fixes this by a secure access VPN or by the physical location within the client’s firewall system. Therefore, this application is best suited for mission-critical applications. There are several organizations like Amazon that use private cloud computing.

2.The Private Cloud is implemented by those companies that require data to adhere to stringent regulatory standards such as, HIPAA, SOX or SAS 70. These standards ensure that the data gets audited according to the set protocols. This would tantamount to meaning that Private Cloud could best be suited to pharmaceuticals and healthcare industries.

The Public Cloud
As opposed to the private cloud, the Public Cloud is a deployment model that services multiple clients free of charge on a pay-per- user license policy. This is a genuine cloud hosting that reduces the IT operational costs incredibly and is implemented by those organizations that are needed to handle host SaaS applications, load spikes, use a stop gap infrastructure for both developing and testing and look after several applications that are used by multiple consumers to arrest huge infrastructure investments.

The Hybrid Cloud
The Hybrid Cloud is one that is best applicable to those companies that together need both data security as well as cash benefits. The Hybrid Cloud enables the companies to secure both their data and applications on a private cloud and in the process of doing so, cut down the operational costs by storing the shared information on the public cloud. This comes with another advantage as well when the present private cloud infrastructure is incapable of managing load spikes and needs a back-up support to the load as such. The Hybrid Cloud proves to be a huge benefit to organizations that want to transfer the workloads from public to private cloud hosting with no cumulative effect to the consumers.

The Community Cloud
This is yet another type of Cloud Computing model where the cloud infrastructure is shared by multiple companies that adhere to similar policies and compliance considerations. As this model is adapted by a larger group, the IT operational costs are increasingly reduced when compared with the Private Cloud model.
This model is best applicable to the state government departments where there is a need to access the same data that majorly relates to population, roads, local electrical stations, hospitals and other local information.

The Cloud Deployment Models
Let us try and understand some of the Cloud Computing Technologies:

Big Data and Cloud Computing
Big Data is a set of huge and complex data that becomes too laborious to capture, store, analyze as well as retrieve with the support of the on-hand database management tools or even the traditional processing techniques. Now with Big Data getting more voluminous every day the synergy between big data and cloud computing has rather become inevitable.

Hadoop and Cloud Computing
Hadoop is an open source software framework that assists a data intensive distributed applications and is considered a virtual remedy to manage big data. Though Hadoop increasingly works on Windows and Linux, it can also work on other operating systems like BSD and OS X as well because of which Hadoop has been sought after by several organizations. This is apparent by a number of Hadoop clusters offered by Cloud vendors in several organizations.

Conclusion
With organizations now having an increasing volume of data to manage with, there is virtually no dearth in the professional opportunities for Cloud Computing professionals. With the entire IT world facing a severe shortage of Cloud Computing professionals, there only exists and will continue to exist a plethora pf career options for them as such. Having said that, these jobs require incredibly skilled IT professionals who would possess the caliber to develop, implement, administer and maintain this increasingly sophisticated software.