What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the availability of infrastructure (CPU and Memory, Storage and Network Transfer), platforms and applications. The key features of cloud computing include the possibility of quick provisioning, deployment and scaling up or down of the cloud components. This allows the customers to use IT resources over the Internet instead of physically owning them, thereby creating solutions that are robust, cost effective and accessible through one computer with Internet connectivity.
What are the benefits of cloud computing?
- Allows users to avail computing resources via a rental model, thereby turning the access to IT resources from capital expenditure to operating expenditure. This takes care of issues such as overheads, technological obsolescence and costs involved in bringing a large variety of tools and technologies onboard.
- Makes available backup and disaster recovery options that are based on geographically dispersed IT resources.
- As cloud services are accessible over the Internet, they can be accessed from anywhere. Furthermore, cloud services can run most any operating system and interface with virtually any device of the end user.
- Provides business agility by allowing users to increase or decrease their computing resources to meet their needs, budgets and time constraints.
- Since the cloud model works on shared resources, it allows high levels of data integrity and security arrangements, which may be extended to customers at low charges.
What are the service models of cloud computing?
Cloud computing service delivery models include: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
What is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)?
IaaS is a cloud service model that uses the Internet to deliver computing resources to customers. Such resources include CPU, memory, storage, network transfer and other basic resources. The customer is responsible for the choice of operating system, type of storage and software that is deployed – as well as some control over other components such as the number of IP addresses and firewalls available. The cloud provider, on the other hand is responsible for the core infrastructure.
What is the difference between IaaS and traditional dedicated servers?
For testing and development environments, dynamic web applications and short-term needs that require the ability to scale servers up or down, IaaS is ideal. Dedicated servers can still be suitable for continuous load operations and fundamental databases.
Is cloud computing the same as virtualized data centers?
No. All IaaS services use some sort of virtualization technique to make the service available. Cloud computing builds on the virtualization structure; i.e. makes it extremely flexible in terms of capacity, metered, pay-as-you-go pricing models and quick deployment.
What are the advantages of IaaS?
The main advantages of IaaS include scalability, flexibility, IT resources accessible on demand and business agility i.e. ability to respond to growing business needs.
What type of applications can run in the cloud?
There are no technical restrictions on putting applications in the cloud. The key is to identify which applications are suitable for dedicated servers and which ones are suitable for the cloud. Ideally, applications that are not latency sensitive are ideal for the cloud environment.
Is there a vendor lock-in when it comes to cloud computing?
Cloud computing is inherently agile. This means that the whole structure of flexibility, on-demand resources, metered charging, resource sharing and short term or no contracts allows users to avoid vendor lock-in. Migration from one cloud service provider to another is an idea that involves little or no difficulty on the part of customers.
How do I pick the first applications to go into the cloud?
Some of factors in identifying which applications to take to the cloud include latency sensitivity, security considerations, performance and availability requirements, and cost factors.
Can cloud computing and on-premise solutions work together?
Yes. Similar to any new technology offering, cloud computing allows users the comfort of gradual adoption it. This is done through models that include components of public as well as private networks i.e. hybrid clouds. Users can take as little or as big a chunk of their computing resources in to the cloud as they feel comfortable. Cloud computing also supports a range of IT strategies which enables cloud usage to be easy and relaxed.
Is the cloud difficult to integrate with existing systems?
Since most of the applications these days are moveable from other existing systems independently or are stand alone, it makes integration of cloud with existing systems fairly easy.