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Cloud Computing Basics
Cloud computing is the development of parallel computing, distributed computing, grid computing and virtualization technologies which define the shape of a new era. Cloud computing is an emerging model of business computing. In this article, we explore the concept of cloud computing, architecture and compares cloud computing with grid computing. We also added the characteristics and applications of several popular cloud computing platforms. In this article, we aim to pinpoint the challenges and issues of cloud computing. We identified several challenges from the cloud computing adoption perspective and we also highlighted the cloud interoperability issue, research, and development. However, security and privacy issues present a strong barrier for users to adapt to cloud computing systems. In this article, we found several cloud computing system providers about their concerns on security and privacy issues.
Introduction of Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing is a completely new technology. It is the development of parallel computing, distributed computing, grid computing, and is the combination and evolution of Virtualization, Utility computing, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Cloud is not invoking a direct similarity to describe web as space where computing has been pre-installed and exist as a service, data, operating systems, applications, storage, and processing power exist on the web ready to be shared. To users, cloud computing is a Pay-per-Use-On-Demand mode that can conveniently access shared IT resources through the Internet. Where the IT resources include network, server, storage, application, service and so on and they can be deployed with much quick and easy manner and least management and also interactions with service providers. Cloud computing can much improve the availability of IT resources and owns many advantages over other computing techniques. Users can use the IT infrastructure with Pay-per-Use-On-Demand mode; this would benefit and save the cost to buy the physical resources that may be vacant.
Overview on SAAS:
SAAS (Software as a Service) provides clients with the ability to use software applications on a remote basis via an internet web browser. Software as a service is also referred to as “software on demand”. Clients can access SaaS applications from anywhere via the web because of service providers host applications and their associated data at their location. The primary benefit of SaaS is a lower cost of use since subscriber fees require a much smaller investment than what is typically encountered under the traditional model of software delivery. Licensing fees, installation costs, maintenance fees, and support fees that are routinely associated with the traditional model of software delivery can be virtually eliminated by subscribing to the SaaS model of software delivery. Examples of SaaS include Google Applications and Internet-based email applications like Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and Gmail.
Overview on IAAS:
IAAS (Infrastructure as a Service) allows clients to remotely use IT hardware and resources on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. It is also referred to as Haas (hardware as a service). Major IaaS players include companies like IBM, Google, and Amazon.com. IaaS employs virtualization, a method of creating and managing infrastructure resources in the “cloud”. IaaS provides small start-up firms with a major advantage since it allows them to gradually expand their IT infrastructure without the need for large capital investments in hardware and peripheral systems.
Overview on PAAS:
PAAS (Platform as a Service) provides clients with the ability to develop and publish customized applications in a hosted environment via the web. It represents a new model for software development that is rapidly increasing in its popularity. An example of PaaS is Salesforce.com. PaaS provides a framework for agile software development, testing, deployment, and maintenance in an integrated environment. Like SaaS, the primary benefit of PaaS, is a lower cost of use, since subscriber fees require a much smaller investment than what is typically encountered when implementing traditional tools for software development, testing, and deployment. PaaS providers handle platform maintenance and system upgrades, resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective solution for enterprise software development.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing is a general term used to describe a new class of network-based computing that takes place over the Internet.
- Basically a step on from Utility Computing
- A collection/group of integrated and networked hardware, software and Internet infrastructure (called a platform).
- Using the Internet for communication and transport provides hardware, software and networking services to clients.
- These platforms hide the complexity and details of the underlying infrastructure from users and applications by providing a very simple graphical interface or API (Applications Programming Interface).
- In addition, the platform provides on-demand services that are always on anywhere, anytime and anyplace.
- Pay for use and as needed, elastic to scale up and down in capacity and functionalities.
- The hardware and software services are available to the general public, enterprises, corporations and businesses markets.
Cloud Computing Overview
Cloud computing is a growing idea in the world of IT, born out of the necessity for computing on the go. It brings the user access to data, applications, and storage that are not stored on their computer. For a very simple cloud computing overview, it can be understood as a delivery system that delivers computing the same way a power grid delivers electricity. To the average computer user, it offers the advantage of delivering IT without the user having to have an in-depth knowledge of the technology. Similar to the way a consumer can access electricity without being an electrician
Cloud Computing Overview – Understanding the Cloud
Cloud computing is the hottest purpose-built architecture created to support computer users. The cloud focuses on three main areas of operations:
- SAAS (software-as-a-service)
- PAAS (platform-as-a-service)
- IAAS (infrastructure as a service)
By delivering this computing, storage, and applications as a service, not a product, the cloud offers both a cost and business advantage. The cloud moves all these services off-site to either a contractor or a centralized facility. Centralizing the data allows the cost to be shared amongst all the users. The cloud accomplishes what IT is always seeking to, increase computing capabilities, without having to provide a new infrastructure. The possible uses of cloud computing are exponential. Users interface with the cloud through their web browser, eliminating the need for installing numerous software applications.
Cloud Computing Architecture
Cloud Computing has been trending in today’s technology-driven world for years now, and with good reason. Cloud computing offers many advantages for flexibility, storage, sharing, and easy accessibility, cloud computing is being used by companies of all sizes. Even at home, we use cloud technologies for various daily activities. From Google Docs to One Drive to Skype and Spotify, these services are provided to us through virtual networks.
Cloud Computing architecture refers to the various components and sub-components of cloud that constitute the structure of the system. According to Wikipedia, cloud computing architecture consists of:
- A front-end platform that can include fat clients, thin clients, and mobile devices
- Back-end platforms, such as servers and storage
- Cloud-based delivery
- A network (internet, intranet)
At its most basic, cloud architecture can be classified into two sections: front-end and back-end, connected to each other via a virtual network or the internet. There are other parts of cloud architecture including middleware, cloud resources, etc. but for now we’ll just see the basics.
1. What is Front End Cloud Computing?
Front-end is the side that is visible to the client, customer, or user. Front-end pieces include the user interface, and the client’s computer system or network that is used for accessing the cloud system. You have probably noticed that different cloud computing systems use different user interfaces-for example, not only can you choose from a variety of web browsers (including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.), but the Google Docs user interface is different than that of Salesforce.
2. What is Back End Cloud Computing?
On the other hand, the back-end pieces are on the side used by the service provider. These include various servers, computers, data storage systems, virtual machines, and programs that together constitute the cloud of computing services. The back-end side also is responsible for providing security mechanisms, traffic control, and protocols that connect networked computers for communication.
To briefly summarize, the front-end is the part you see, and the back-end is the computing that happens behind the scenes.
3. What is Cloud-Based Delivery?
As we’ve discussed above, cloud computing services are everywhere these days. For example, if your company uses Salesforce or QuickBooks—or you use Google Drive or Office 365 at home or work, you’re a cloud computing user. These are all examples of subscriptions a company or individual can purchase that enable them to use the software, typically known as Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS.
Because of technology like virtualization and hypervisors, it’s possible for many virtual servers to exist on a single physical server. These technologies power other cloud subscriptions like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and more.
4. What is a Cloud Services Network?
Cloud services can be delivered publicly or privately using the internet and can also remain within a company’s network when delivered over an intranet. Sometimes, organizations make use of a combination of both.
No matter where the actual “cloud” is a company’s own data center or a service provider’s data center, cloud computing uses networking to enable convenient, on-demand access to a shared pool of computing resources like networks.
Cloud Computing Characteristics
- Massive Scale
- Low-Cost Software
- Resilient Computing
- Geographic Distribution
- Service Orientation
- Advanced Security
- Massive Scale :
A type of Internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. Cloud is a large server on which different services and data are stored and one can access whenever required. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
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.
- Virtualization :
In computing, virtualization means to create a virtual version of a device or resource, such as a server, storage device, network or even an operating system where the framework divides the resource into one or more execution environments.
- Low-Cost Software:
Share to Facebook Share to LinkedIn Share to Twitter Share to Google+ Cloud computing, heralded as the Next Big Thing in IT infrastructure, promises new levels of efficiency, flexibility and cost savings – particularly in the area of outsourced hosting, also known as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
- Resilient Computing:
Resilient computing is a form of failover that distributes redundant implementations of IT resources across physical locations. Within cloud computing, the characteristic of resiliency can refer to redundant IT resources within the same cloud (but in different physical locations) or across multiple clouds.
- Geographic Distribution:
Distributed cloud is the application of cloud computing technologies to interconnect data and applications served from multiple geographic locations. Distributed, in an information technology (IT) context, means that something is shared among multiple systems which may also be in different locations.
- Service Orientation:
A service–oriented architecture is essentially a collection of services. These services communicate with each other. The communication can involve either simple data passing or it could involve two or more services coordinating some activity. Some means of connecting services to each other is needed.
- Advanced Security:
Cloud computing security or, more simply, cloud security refers to a broad set of policies, technologies, and controls deployed to protect data, applications, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing. It is a sub-domain of computer security, network security, and, more broadly, information security.
- On-demand self-service
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling
- Rapid elasticity
- Measured Service
- 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.
- Broad network access:
Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).
- Resource pooling:
The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory and network bandwidth.
- Rapid elasticity:
Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.
- 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.
Opportunities and Challenges
- The use of the cloud provides a number of opportunities; it enables services to be used without any understanding of their infrastructure. Cloud computing works using economies of scale.
- It potentially lowers the outlay expense for start-up companies, as they would no longer need to buy their own software or servers.
- The cost would be by on-demand pricing.
- Vendors and Service providers claim costs by establishing an ongoing revenue stream.
- Data and services are stored remotely but accessible from “anywhere”.
- In parallel, there has been the backlash against cloud computing.
- Use of cloud computing means dependence on others and that could possibly limit flexibility and innovation.
- The others are likely to become the bigger Internet companies like Google and IBM, who may monopolize the market.
- Some argue that this use of supercomputers is a return to the time of mainframe computing that the PC was a reaction against.
- Security could prove to be a big issue.
- It is still unclear how safe out-sourced data is and when using these services ownership of data is not always clear.
- There are also issues relating to policy and access.
- If your data is stored abroad whose policy do you adhere to?
- What happens if the remote server goes down?
- How will you then access files?
- There have been cases of users being locked out of accounts and losing access to data.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
- Lower computer costs
- Improved performance
- Reduced software costs
- Instant software updates
- Improved document format compatibility
- Unlimited storage capacity
- Increased data reliability
- Universal document access
- Latest version availability
- Easier group collaboration:
- Device independence
- Lower computer costs:
- You do not need a high-powered and high-priced computer to run cloud computing web-based applications.
- Since applications run in the cloud, not on the desktop PC, your desktop PC does not need the processing power or hard disk space demanded by traditional desktop software.
- When you are using web-based applications, your PC can be less expensive, with a smaller hard disk, less memory, more efficient processor…
- In fact, your PC in this scenario does not even need a CD or DVD drive, as no software programs have to be loaded and no document files need to be saved.
- Improved performance:
- With a few large programs hogging your computer’s memory, you will see better performance from your PC.
- Computers in a cloud computing system boot and run faster because they have fewer programs and processes loaded into memory…
- Reduced software costs:
- Instead of purchasing expensive software applications, you can get most of what you need for free-ish!
- Most cloud computing applications today, such as the Google Docs suite.
- better than paying for similar commercial software
- Which alone may be justification for switching to cloud applications?
- Instant software updates:
- Another advantage of cloud computing is that you are no longer faced with choosing between obsolete software and high upgrade costs.
- When the application is web-based, updates happen automatically.
- Available the next time you log into the cloud.
- When you access a web-based application, you get the latest version
- Without needing to pay for or download an upgrade.
- Improved document format compatibility:
- You do not have to worry about the documents you create on your machine being compatible with other users’ applications or OSes.
- There are potentially no format incompatibilities when everyone is sharing documents and applications in the cloud.
- Unlimited storage capacity:
- Cloud computing offers virtually limitless storage.
- Your computer’s current 1 Tbyte hard drive is small compared to the hundreds of Pbytes available in the cloud.
- Increased data reliability:
- Unlike desktop computing, in which if a hard disk crashes and destroy all your valuable data, a computer crashing in the cloud should not affect the storage of your data.
- If your personal computer crashes, all your data is still out there in the cloud, still accessible.
- In a world where few individual desktop PC users back up their data on a regular basis, cloud computing is a data-safe computing platform!
- Universal document access:
- That is not a problem with cloud computing, because you do not take your documents with you.
- Instead, they stay in the cloud, and you can access them whenever you have a computer and an Internet connection
- Documents are instantly available from wherever you are
- Latest version availability:
- When you edit a document at home, that edited version is what you see when you access the document at work.
- The cloud always hosts the latest version of your documents.
- As long as you are connected, you are not in danger of having an outdated version.
- Easier group collaboration:
- Sharing documents leads directly to better collaboration.
- Many users do this as it is an important advantage of cloud computing
- multiple users can collaborate easily on documents and projects
- Device independence:
- You are no longer tethered to a single computer or network.
- Changes to computers, applications, and documents follow you through the cloud.
- Move to a portable device, and your applications and documents are still available.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
- Requires a constant Internet connection
- Does not work well with low-speed connections
- Features might be limited
- Can be slow
- Stored data might not be secure
- Stored data can be lost
- HPC Systems
- General Concerns
- Requires a constant Internet connection:
- Cloud computing is impossible if you cannot connect to the Internet.
- Since you use the Internet to connect to both your applications and documents if you do not have an Internet connection you cannot access anything, even your own documents.
- A dead Internet connection means no work and in areas where Internet connections are few or inherently unreliable, this could be a deal-breaker.
- Does not work well with low-speed connections:
- Similarly, a low-speed Internet connection, such as that found with dial-up services, makes cloud computing painful at best and often impossible.
- Web-based applications require a lot of bandwidth to download, as do large documents.
- Features might be limited:
- This situation is bound to change, but today many web-based applications simply are not as full-featured as their desktop-based applications.
- For example, you can do a lot more with Microsoft PowerPoint than with Google Presentation’s web-based offering.
- Can be slow:
- Even with a fast connection, web-based applications can sometimes be slower than accessing a similar software program on your desktop PC.
- Everything about the program, from the interface to the current document, has to be sent back and forth from your computer to the computers in the cloud.
- If the cloud servers happen to be backed up at that moment, or if the Internet is having a slow day, you would not get the instantaneous access you might expect from desktop applications.
- Stored data might not be secure:
- With cloud computing, all your data is stored in the cloud.
- The questions are How secure is the cloud?
- Can unauthorized users gain access to your confidential data?
- Stored data can be lost:
- Theoretically, data stored in the cloud is safe, replicated across multiple machines.
- But on the off chance that your data goes missing, you have no physical or local backup.
- Put simply, relying on the cloud puts you at risk if the cloud lets you down.
- HPC Systems:
- Not clear that you can run compute-intensive HPC applications that use MPI/OpenMP!
- Scheduling is important with this type of application
- As you want all the VM to be co-located to minimize communication latency!
- General Concerns:
- Each cloud systems uses different protocols and different APIs
- may not be possible to run applications between cloud-based systems
- Amazon has created its own DB system (not SQL 92), and workflow system (many popular workflow systems out there)
- so your normal applications will have to be adapted to execute on these platforms.
A cloud allows users to access application, information, and data of all sorts on an online level rather than by use of actual hardware or devices. A company offering reliable cloud technology allows for computing to be done in a much more shared way, as a cloud provides a service rather than a product. Users get and share their information in a way that can allow them to access and give access to the whole world or any groups of people within their cloud.
- Many of the activities loosely grouped together under cloud computing have already been happening and centralized computing activity is not a new phenomenon.
- Grid Computing was the last research-led centralized approach.
- However, there are concerns that the mainstream adoption of cloud computing could cause many problems for users.
- Many new open source systems appearing that you can install and run on your local cluster.
- Should be able to run a variety of applications on these systems.
What the Future of Cloud Computing Holds?
With cloud computing and the technology behind it, there are many potential opportunities and capabilities. Cloud computing can open a whole new world of jobs, services, platforms, applications, and much more. There are thousands of possibilities beginning to form as the future of cloud computing starts to really take off.
For instance, vendors and service providers can get on board to develop new and different ways of selling their goods and services to the cloud users through the cloud technology. It opens up a whole new platform for designers and web developers. Businesses and organizations can organize themselves and conduct business much more affordable and professionally. Social networking and keeping in touch with friends get a great deal easier as well.
Cloud Computing Basics Conclusion
In conclusion, cloud computing is recently new technological development that has the potential to have a great impact on the world. It has many benefits that it provides to it users and businesses. For example, some of the benefits that it provides to businesses are that it reduces operating cost by spending less on maintenance and software upgrades and focus more on the businesses itself. But there are other challenges the cloud computing must overcome. People are very skeptical about whether their data is secure and private. There are no standards or regulations worldwide provided data through cloud computing. Europe has data protection laws but the US, being one of the most technologically advanced nations, does not have any data protection laws. Users also worry about who can disclose their data and have ownership of their data. But once, there are standards and regulation worldwide, cloud computing will revolutionize the future.
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