Introduction to Cloud Computing – Everything you need to know

From a technological and Internet point of view, cloud computing is not new or too complicated. What’s new is the growth and maturity of methods and strategies that enable business agility goals.

The term “cloud” appears to originate as schematic clouds in network diagrams representing the Internet or parts thereof. Cloud computing isn’t something that suddenly appeared overnight; in some form, it can go back to when computer systems share time computing resources and applications remotely. “Cloud computing” is a coincidence of what happens when applications and services are transferred to the “cloud” internet. Cloud computing, more recently, refers to the many different services and applications provided in the internet cloud and, in many cases, to the lack of unique uses for devices accessing them.

Why use cloud computing?

– Reduce capex costs and improve the predictability of on-going operating expenses

– Enable your employees to work from anywhere

– Access your data anytime, without risks associated with physical storage since this is managed by cloud providers

– Avoid complex disaster recovery planning; let cloud computing vendors take care of this for you

– Access the same class of technology as your established competitors

– Let cloud computing vendors do your server maintenance for you, freeing up your resources for more critical tasks

– Improve your document control, with all your files in one central location, allowing everyone to work from one original copy.

Characteristics

Cloud computing’s main features are:

Shared infrastructure — Uses a virtualized software model that allows physical service sharing, storage, and networking. Regardless of the deployment model, the cloud infrastructure tries to provide a number of users with the most infrastructure.

Dynamic supply — Allows service delivery based on current demand. This is done automatically using software automation to expand and reduce serviceability when required. This dynamic scaling must be performed while maintaining high reliability and safety.

Network Access — Using standard APIs (e.g., HTTP-based APIs) for a wide range of devices, such as PCs, laptops, and mobile devices, to access the Internet. Cloud services deployments include everything from business applications on the newest smartphones to the latest app.

Managed meters — Use meters to manage and optimize service, and provide reporting and account information. Consumers are charged for services according to how much they actually used during the billing period.

In short, cloud computing allows service sharing and scalable deployment from almost everywhere, wherever the user can be charged based on actual use.

Service Models

Once a cloud is developed, its cloud computing services can vary depending on business model needs. The primary service models deployed are generally referred to as:

Software as a Service (SaaS) — Consumers buy access and use cloud-hosted applications or services. As discussed above, Salesforce.com is a benchmark example where cloud service hosts information necessary for interaction between the consumer and service. Microsoft has also made significant investments in this area, and its Office suite is available as a subscription through its cloud-based online services as part of the Microsoft ® Office 365 cloud computing option.

Service Platform (PaaS) – Consumers buy platform access to their own cloud software and applications. Consumers do not manage operating systems and network access, and applications can be restricted. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace, and Azure are examples.

Service Infrastructure (IaaS) — Consumers control and manage operating systems, applications, storage, and network connectivity systems without controlling their cloud infrastructure. Also known are the various subsets of these models that can relate to a specific industry or market.

Communications as a Service (CaaS) is a subset model used to describe host IP telephony services. The move to CaaS is a shift towards more SIP trunking and IP-centric communications. With IP and SIP in place, it can be as simple as cloud-based PBX. Therefore, CaaS could be considered as a SaaS subset.

Deployment Models

The use of cloud computing may vary depending on requirements, and the following four deployment models with specific characteristics were identified that specifically support cloud services and users’ needs.

Private Cloud — A particular organization deployed, operated, and maintained cloud infrastructure. The operation may take place in-house or third party premises.

Community Cloud — A number of like-minded organizations share a cloud infrastructure. This can help reduce capital expenditure costs as organizations share costs. The operation might be in-house or with a third party on-site.

Public Cloud — Cloud infrastructure is publicly available through a cloud service provider. This allows a consumer to develop and deploy a low-financial spending cloud service compared to the capital spending requirements usually associated with other deployment options.

Hybrid cloud — Cloud infrastructure consists of all kinds of clouds. However, clouds can move data and/or applications from the cloud to the cloud via interfaces. This can be a combination of private and public clouds that support an organization’s need to retain specific data and provide cloud services.

Benefits

The following are possible benefits for those offering cloud-based services and applications.

Cost savings: cloud computing offers services such as infrastructure, platforms, etc. based on requirements, helps lower initial costs, prevents setting up high-capacity servers and others that are more than necessary. It charges the amount depending on the use of infrastructure, platform, and other services, helping consumers reduce costs by specifying exact requirements.

Cloud computing reduces the setup time of organizations by simultaneously offering all facilities. No need to wait until infrastructure, platform and others are set up, avoiding a primary headache. This helps organizations save time, initially and progressively leading to a permanent condition.

Scalability and flexibility: Companies can quickly start with a small setup as discussed in the second benefit, then scale back if necessary. Cloud computing flexibility also allows companies to use additional resources at peak times to meet consumer needs. Cloud computing can also match any time requirement by setting up servers, storing, etc. 4.

Backup and recovery: since all data is stored in the cloud, backup, and recovery is relatively easier than storing it on a physical device. It also has many techniques to recover from any disaster.

Cloud computing reduces the IT resources burden for many firms and agencies by maximizing cloud-based resources. Most providers always offer facilities to meet all requirements — one of the exciting cloud computing features.

Mobile access: cloud computing allows high-powered computing and storage resources for people with network access devices. Employees can access and work by sitting home without going to their office or organization. Moreover, mobile users today are very high compared to PCs and other devices. Consumers can access their files and other apps anytime on their mobile phones. This increased the cloud computing rate.

Cloud computing allows multiple users to share architecture and other applications. With the cloud in distributed and shared mode, various users and applications can work better with cost savings by sharing a shared infrastructure.

Customization: Cloud computing is a change platform for our needs. It provides an application platform for a range of tasks and challenges.

Collaboration: Major projects or applications are undertaken by several employee groups. Cloud computing provides a convenient way to work with a group of people on a joint project or application.

Offer new services: providing cloud services to multinationals such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com. During release time, these companies can easily supply any new application/product.

Challenges

There are many benefits, though cloud computing is challenging. As companies move from website to cloud, they need to be aware of cloud computing’s benefits and challenges. Data security is the most tedious cloud work in analyzing these challenges. According to a Gartner survey, more than 70% of Chief Technical Officers believe that the primary reasons for not using cloud computing services are data security and privacy concerns. Convincing small safety organizations is a tedious task; they aren’t ready to discard their infrastructure and move to the cloud immediately. Most organizations look closely at this issue and are unwilling to move to cloud space due to cloud computing’s lack of maturity. The following are some notable cloud-related challenges. While some may slow down in providing additional cloud services, most may also offer opportunities if proper care and attention are resolved during the planning phases.

Security and confidentiality — Two of the more “hot-button” issues surrounding cloud computing may involve data storage, data security, and monitoring cloud usage by service providers. These problems usually result from slowing down cloud service deployment. For example, storing information within the organization can address these challenges, but allow for cloud use. However, this requires robust organizational and cloud security mechanisms, and such a deployment can be supported by a hybrid cloud.

Lack of standardsCloud interfaces are documented, but no standards are associated with them, so most clouds are unlikely to be interoperable. To solve this issue, the Open Grid Forum is developing an OC interface, and the Open Cloud Consortium is working on cloud computing standards and practices. The findings of these groups will need to mature, but it is unknown whether they will address the needs of people who deploy the service and the specific interfaces they need. However, the latest standards can be updated as they evolve, if applicable.

Continuously evolving — User requirements are continually changing as requirements for the interface, networking, and storage. This means a “cloud,” especially a public cloud, is not static and continuously evolving.

Compliance concerns — The US Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and EU Data Protection Directives are just two of the many cloud compliance issues, based on the type of data and the application the cloud uses. The EU has legislative support for data protection in all Member States, but data protection in the US is different and can vary from state to state. Security and privacy, as mentioned above, typically lead to hybrid cloud deployment with a cloud to store in-house data.

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