Easiest Way to Understand Cloud Computing

‘Cloud’ promises to have given a new wisdom to the increasing enterprise agility. The story doesn’t end here as unknowingly it has played an inevitable role in our daily life since ‘Internet’ spearheaded.  Whatever you might use today at a click to flick – Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox, Skype, PayPal all are healthy examples of cloud technology.

The biggest challenge for a savvy today is to describe ‘Cloud’ in the easiest way – undoubtedly; which has made you come here.

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I will dare to address all the questions over the buzz word ‘Cloud’ in the simplest method:

Origin of Cloud Computing

Today’s industry may seem obvious and certain on their speculations, but just a short time ago it would have been hard to guess that this is where it all occurred.Variant definitions have bewildered the origin of Cloud. It sounds an infant taking birth like ‘Christ’.

  • Cloud came into existence with an idea of an “intergalactic computer network” was introduced in the sixties by J.C.R. Licklider, who was responsible for enabling the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1969.
  • The commercial advent came about a decade after when com in 1999, which pioneered the concept of delivering enterprise applications via a simple website. The services firm paved the way for both specialist and mainstream software firms to deliver applications over the internet.
  • The next development was Amazon Web Services in 2002, which provided a suite of cloud-based services including storage, computation and even human intelligence through the Amazon Mechanical Turk.
  • The kindle was lit and made omnipresence with the technology influencers like Microsoft and Google shaped into the cloud corridor and till today its reported that a innumerable companies rely on Cloud.

Define

The most hellish part was to define the cloud with technological scholars and Explaining Cloud Computingprofessionals found difficult to interpret the ‘Cloud Computing’ in a limited ‘word-pedia’ regardless there are standard definitions of Cloud Computing. Let’s do it in an easier way:

  • Elementary

The cloud is just a mutation form of the Internet. Cloud computing signifies storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive.

Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.

Cloud Computing can be defined as a computer technology that yields the processing power of many inter-networked computers while impersonating the structure that is behind it.

  • Technically

Cloud computing refers to an efficient method of managing lots of computer servers, data storage and networking.

The evolution of the term “cloud” can be preferred to the anonymous nature of this technology’s framework; the system works for users yet they really have no idea the inherent complexities that the system utilizes.

Cloud is a new evolution of IT service delivery from a remote location, either over the Internet or an intranet, involving multi-tenant environments enabled by virtualization.

  • Research

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

  • Experts

I have not heard two people say the same thing about cloud. There are multiple definitions out there of “the cloud”.

{Andy Isherwood, HP’s Vice President of European Software Sales}

It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign.

{Richard Stallman, Free Software Foundation founder}

Everyone who’s got an opinion will be telling the world and his dog about their predictions for cloud computing.

{Industry Expert}

Service Models

To understand broadly Cloud computing has multiple service models like: SaaS, PaaS, NaaS, DbaaS, IaaS, DbaaS and many more. Though every model has its own eminency the cloud computing has three major types of service models: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

  • SaaS – Software as a Service

In simple this is a service which leverages business to roll over the internet. SaaS is also called as “on-demand software” and is priced on pay-per-use basis. SaaS allows a business to reduce IT operational costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the cloud provider. SaaS is a rapidly growing market as indicated in recent reports that predict ongoing double digit growth.

  • PaaS – Platform as a Service

PaaS is quiet similar to SaaS rather than SaaS been offered through web the PaaS creates software, delivered over the web.

PaaS provides a computing platform and solution stack as a service. In this model user or consumers creates software using tools or libraries from the providers. Consumer also controls software deployment and configuration settings. Main aim of provider is to provide networks, servers, storage and other services.

  • IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure is the foundation of cloud computing. It provides delivery of computing as a shared service reducing the investment cost, operational and maintenance of hardware. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a way of delivering Cloud Computing infrastructure – servers, storage, network and operating systems – as an on-demand service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, datacenter space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service on demand.

Eminent Characteristics

Characteristic of Cloud Computing

Till now you might have been driven with the ‘Cloud’. Further let’s now what features or characteristics does the Cloud Computing has infused – ‘in a simpler way’.

  • On-demand self-service-

A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.

  • The Agile Functionality of the System-

Possibilities of cloud solutions can be available to the system user in a short period of time, if it is necessary. Let us suppose that our site is in the Cloud and that the traffic, in terms of the number of visitors, is similar every day. Then, let us suppose that one day, for some reason, the Web site traffic rises by 100%. If the is site hosted on our own, private server, there is a strong possibility for it to simply “go down” and stop working because of software and hardware limitations. In such cases, Cloud dynamically allocates necessary resources in order to ensure a smooth operation, and when the flow decreases again, resources are automatically restored to its original condition. The user is free to purchase additional resources and opportunities in any quantity and at any time.

  • Wide range network access-

Implies widespread, heterogeneous network accessibility for thin, thick, mobile and other commonly used compute mediums. System capacities are available to customers through a network and can be accessed from different devices such as desktop computers, mobile phones, smartphones and tablet devices.

  • Allocation of resources-

Computer resources of providers are grouped in order to serve a large number of simultaneous users. The mechanism of processing power distribution, or the amount of memory, operates in such a way that the system dynamically allocates these parameters according to customer requirements. The users themselves have no control over the physical parameters, i.e. resources location, but at some higher level of the system customatisation, Cloud solutions can choose where their data will be stored and processed (for example, geographical location of data centers).

  • Measured service-

Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled and reported, providing transparency for the provider and consumer.

Architectures

Cloud Computing architecture is developed with several cloud components; Virtualization is the key in optimizing server resources, often software noted previously known as VMware is utilized. To handle the massive protocol Cloud is majorly divided into two major categories:

  • Front – End
  • Back – End

The viable ends are connected through a network, usually Internet. Let’s dive into it understand it better:

Front-end – This is the part seen by the client, i.e. the computer user. This merges the client’s network and applications used to access the cloud via a user interface such as a web browser.

Back- End – The back end of the cloud computing architecture is the ‘cloud’ itself, comprising various computers, servers and data storage devices.

Importantly; it is the responsibility of the back end to enable built-in security mechanism, traffic control and protocols.

The server employs certain protocols known as middleware, which help the connected devices to communicate with each other.

Pros and Cons

Still sounds good!  Cloud computing is the arsenal for data on a server at another location lowering the hardware needs. Undoubtedly, it has and will transform the ‘Data-Greed’ of the world but that’s one part of the story; then what is the other one?

Below I’ll strive to eloquent ‘Bad with the Good’ list which you should consider:

Pros

  • Say ‘Goodbye’ to costly systems: Cloud hosting enables the businesses to enjoy minimal expenditure. As everything can be done in the cloud, the local systems of the employees have very less to do with. It saves the dollars that are spent on costly devices.
  • Access from infinite options:Another advantage of cloud computing is accessing the environment of cloud not only from the system but through other amazing options. These options are tablets, IPad, netbooks and even mobile phones. It not only increases efficiency but enhances the services provided to the consumers.
  • Software Expense: Cloud infrastructure eliminates the high software costs of the businesses. The numbers of software are already stored on the cloud servers. It removes the need for buying expensive software and paying for their licensing costs.
  • The cooked food: The expense of adding new employees is not affected by the applications’ setup, installation and arrangement of a new device. Cloud applications are right at the desk of employees that are ready to let them perform all the work. The cloud devices are like cooked food.
  • Lowers traditional servers’ cost: Cloud for business removes the huge costs at the front for the servers of the enterprise. The extra costs associated with increasing memory, hard drive space and processing power are all abolished.
  • Data Centralization: Another key benefit of cloud services is the centralized data. The information for multiple projects and different branch offices are stored in one location that can be accessed from remote places.
  • Data Recovery: Cloud computing providers enables automatic data backup on the cloud system. The recovery of data when a hard drive crash is either not possible or may cost a huge amount of dollars or wastage of valuable time.
  • Sharing Capabilities: We talked about documents accessibility, let’s hit sharing too. All your precious documents and files can be emailed, and shared whenever required. So, you can be present wherever you are not!
  • Cloud Security:Cloud service vendor chooses only the highest secure data centers for your information. Moreover, for sensitive information in the cloud there are proper auditing, passwords, and encryptions.
  • Free Cloud Storage:Cloud is the best platform to store all your valuable information. The storage is free, limitless and forever secure, unlike your system.
  • Instantly Test: Various tools employed in cloud computing permits you to test a new product, application, feature, upgrade or load instantly. The infrastructure is quickly available with flexibility and scalability of distributed testing environment.

Cons

  • Net Connection: For cloud computing, an internet connection is a must to access your precious data.
  • Low Bandwidth: With a low bandwidth net, the benefits of Cloud computing cannot be utilized. Sometimes even a high bandwidth satellite connection can lead to poor quality performance due to high latency.
  • Affected Quality: The internet is used for various reasons such as listening to audios, watching videos online, downloading and uploading heavy files, printing from the cloud and the list goes on. The quality of Cloud computing connection can get affected when a lot of people utilize the net at the same time.
  • Security Issues: Of course, cloud computing keeps your data secure. But for maintaining complete security, an IT consulting firm’s assistance and advice is important. Else, the business can become vulnerable to hackers and threats.
  • Non-negotiable Agreements: Some cloud computing vendors have non-negotiable contracts for the companies. It can be disadvantageous for a lot of businesses.
  • Cost Comparison: Cloud software may look like an affordable option when compared to an in-house installation of software. But it is important to compare the features of the installed software and the cloud software. As some specific features in the cloud software can be missing that might be essential for your business. Sometimes you are charged extra for unrequired additional features.
  • No Hard Drive: As Steve Jobs, the late chairman of Apple had exclaimed “I don’t need a hard disk on my computer if I can get to the server faster… carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison.” But some people who use programs cannot do without an attached hard drive.
  • Lack of full support: Cloud-based services do not always provide proper support to the customers. The vendors are not available on e-mail or phones and want the consumers to depend on FAQ and online community for support. Due to this, complete transparency is never offered.
  • Incompatibility: Sometimes, there are problems of software incompatibility. As some applications, tools, and software connect particularly to a personal computer.
  • Fewer insights into your network: It’s true cloud computing companies provide you access to data like CPU, RAM, and disk utilization. But just think once how minimal your insight becomes into your network. So, if it’s a bug in your code, a hardware problem or anything, without recognizing the issue it is impossible to fix it.
  • Minimal flexibility: The application and services run on a remote server. Due to this, enterprises using cloud computing have minimal control over the functions of the software as well as hardware. The applications can never be run locally due to the remote software.

Cloud Computing Adoption ModelAdopting Cloud Computing

This gets critical; just developing a strategy to get data over to the cloud is not the specific issue. The fact of the matter is that some cloud vendors themselves are in a proprietary technology platform. Despite of these snags let us know how to actually adopt cloud computing in fives easy steps:

  1. Virtualization: Virtualize application and Infrastructure
  2. Cloud Experiment: Experiment in Amazon EC2, define reference architecture
  3. Cloud Foundation: Lay foundation for scalable application architecture
  4. Cloud Exploitation: Select cloud environment and begin broad-based deployments, manual provisioning and load balancing
  5. Hyper Cloud: Achieve dynamic sharing of application workload, capacity arbitrage and self-service application provisioning

Challenges

  • Meeting federal security requirements:Cloud vendors may not be familiar with security requirements that are unique to government agencies, such as continuous monitoring and maintaining an inventory of systems.
  • Reliability: In terms of reliability, it all comes down to picking a provider that is reputable and proven. Understanding the Service Level Agreement (SLA) is crucial as some providers guarantee a 100% network uptime rate and reimburse users for any downtime.
  • Moving everything to the cloud: Moving everything to the cloud can be a real challenge as, while cloud is here to stay, it will not replace all traditional hosting or on-premise deployments.
  • Ensuring data portability and interoperability:To preserve their ability to change vendors in the future, agencies may attempt to avoid platforms or technologies that “lock” customers into a particular product.
  • Overcoming cultural barriers:Agency culture may act as an obstacle to implementing cloud solutions.
  • Service Delivery and Billing: It is difficult to assess the costs involved due to the on-demand nature of the services. Budgeting and assessment of the cost will be very difficult unless the provider has some good and comparable benchmarks to offer. The service-level agreements (SLAs) of the provider are not adequate to guarantee the availability and scalability.

Leading Service Providers

Today cloud business is mammoth; hence, it becomes quiet tricky to take an account at every cloud providers. What we will try to do is scratch the surface of the burgeoning SaaS market. This might end up with disagreements but still this will be helpful for the Start-Ups searching for SaaS.

Providers  Cloud Computing

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Salesforce

Launched 15 years ago, Salesforce has become a pioneer of the SaaS industry. Salesforce is a leader in CRM. The extensive database knowledge is considered to be a goldmine for building a robust business database.

The second largest SaaS provider in the world behind Salesforce, they focus on selling engineered systems rather than commodity hardware. Predominantly working in public and retail sectors, they have a lot of power in marketing CRM, ERP and HCM. Oracle Fusion is their flagship product, aimed at CRM and Financial services with Oracle’s Sales Cloud.

Aimed at larger to mid-sized businesses, SAP Business ByDesign is a complete, integrated suite that can run your whole enterprise – financials, human resources, sales, procurement, customer service, and supply chain. Latest Launch HANA is great for analytics and has several large case deployments.

A leading provider of hosted servers, applications, and data storage. Rackspace offers the advantage of picking and choosing a variety of software solutions and supporting them on scalable, customized, managed platforms for the ultimate in service and reliability.

Google is not only a huge player in the SaaS arena with its famous and popular Google Docs application suite, the Internet powerhouse also hosts its own SaaS marketplace where customers can shop a plethora of developers and applications to find the solutions they need for their business.

This technology giant is a huge SaaS provider that supplies powerful software solutions for government and enterprise customers. Windows Live, Office Live, Dynamics Live CRM, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) are just some of the powerful options made available by Microsoft.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Elastic Beanstalk is for deploying and scaling web applications which are developed on Java, .NET, PHP, PHP, Node.js, Python, Ruby, Go, and Docker. These will run on Apache servers as well as Nginx, Passenger and IIS. One of the big benefits is that AWS is constantly adding new tools, so you are always likely to have the latest tools to hand.

As with Amazon, one of the key benefits is that Microsoft Azure supports any operating system, language, tool and framework. This clearly makes life a lot easier for developers.

Some of the languages and options that are available are, .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python, Java, and Ruby.

Another of the benefits of using Azure is that developers can use a Visual Studio for creating and deploying applications.

RedHat offers a few different options for developers which consist of either hosted, private or open source PaaS projects.

The benefit of this is that at whatever level you are, RedHat has an option for you. For OpenShift Origin, the languages that are supported are Java EE6, Ruby, PHP, Python, Perl, MongoDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. OpenShift Online and OpenShift Enterprise also offer the same languages.

Google, as ever, is a powerful contender for one of the top spots as a PaaS provider. The company claims to already support hundreds of thousands of developers and has an impressive record on uptime.

The App Engine supports many different languages and allows for integration to other technologies such as Hadoop, MongoDB and others.

Google is another company which abridging PaaS and IaaS so you get the best of both worlds.

IBM has an open source PaaS which is based on Cloud Foundry. The idea behind it is that the user will have greater security and control.

Users’ can choose from third-party and community services to extend the functionality of apps. A useful benefit is that any existing infrastructure that you have can be migrated to Bluemix.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Amazon is the standard bearer in the public IaaS space, as its paid-by-the-VM Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is both the market share and mindshare leader by a fairly big gap. It’s got a huge portfolio of services that run atop its Xen-based virtualized infrastructure and Amazon keeps adding to those offerings while it lowers its prices.

IBM’s advantages in the cloud market are rooted in its comprehensive portfolio of public, private and managed cloud products. But the hybrid focus is anchored by SoftLayer, the public cloud it acquired two years ago.

Microsoft’s Azure public cloud has been growing faster than any other IaaS offering on the market. Microsoft has now solidly entrenched itself as the runner-up in market share behind Amazon Web Services.

Though Rackspace makes space in the niche category study reveals that Rackspace’s industrialized private cloud offerings are thoughtfully constructed, more automated than most competing offerings, and operated in a fashion that allows Rackspace to deliver reliable, well-supported services at economical prices. Fingers crossed!

NTT has a strong customer base in Asia to sell cloud services. And the family of companies it belongs to brings built-in market opportunities and a large partner network. NTT Com also has a long track record in managed hosting and managed security services, and can deliver these solutions in conjunction with Enterprise Cloud.

Current Market Overview

No wonder; the Cloud paradigm is on roll. Next with vigorous adoption and constant transformation the market space and opportunity is going to be competitive and lucrative. Sharing few insights to understand the latest market and will-be market of cloud computing

  • According to the new report by Allied Market Research, titled “Global Cloud Services Market (Services, Type, End User and Geography) – Global Analysis, Industry Growth, Trends, Size, Share, Opportunities and Forecast, 2013-2020”, the global cloud services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.6% from 2014 to 2020, reaching a market size of $555 billion in 2020. In 2014, the overall cloud services market revenue will reach $209.9 billion, led by public cloud services. The community cloud services segment is gaining momentum and is expected to garner revenue of $1 billion this year, thanks to its adoption in healthcare segment.
  • Latest reports states the cloud computing market is growing at a 22.8% compound annual growth rate, and will reach $127.5 billion in 2018. There are now 28 private cloud $1.5 billion+ business’, with market leaders Dropbox being valued at an estimated $15 billion.
  • By 2018, 62% of all CRM  software will be cloud-based, Salesforce will leverage on cloud the most and strengthen its market leader position.30% of all application spending is for SaaS-based applications, projected to grow at a CAGR of 17.6%  from 2013 to 2018.

The futur of Cloud Computing

Future

Lastly let’s make it square, Growing recognition of economic and operational benefits and the efficiency of cloud-computing model promise strong future growth. Cloud undoubtedly has kept a promising fate with CIOs relying much on the data security to the industry professionals are murmuring to adopt Cloud Computing.

The recent economic recession saw hordes of companies take to cloud computing as a cost saving strategy. Cloud computing came as a boon for companies during tough economic and financial climate, given that the technology can potentially slash IT costs by over 35%.

Promising growth in the market for cloud

Report states that the adoption of cloud to hit $250 billion by 2017. With that kind of growth expected, it is no wonder that many are companies are rebranding anything that makes sense “as a service” to get a piece of the pie.

Hybrid cloud adoption – The Game Changer

It’s expected that 50 percent of enterprises will have hybrid clouds by 2017. CIOs crafting well-thought-out strategies that can include cloud. However, pure cloud implementations are the exception and not the rule. The hybrid cloud—a mix of on and off premises—offers the best of both worlds: a combination of strengths allowing organizations to achieve the performance of on-premises solutions yet also the management convenience of the cloud business model.

Innovations to redefine Cloud

Increased competition in the cloud space will give way to better products, services and innovation. Going through theories and memoirs of Moores, He writes that a vendor establishes a new product or service, its pace of innovation drops. Moore suggests that this occurs because companies need to help their clients adopt the new innovative offering. Therefore one can perceive that history has been symbolic to probe that how technologies can be just a mystic.

Baffled! This will give you repetitive thoughts.

Conclusion

Economists say Moore’s Law is the reason our world has been transformed by technology. Concluding, I perceive it is a necessity to justify I am by no means one of those ‘zealots’ for Cloud purity, nor am I suggesting we call customers or prospects out over its misuse.  Edifying a common nomenclature and understanding of its key elements is critical in our business when assisting clients achieve their desired end state.  It is also important to note – not all customers have sufficient business need to justify the investment required to establish a full-blown cloud computing infrastructure service model.

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