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Cloud Computing Explained

Even though more and more enterprises are jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon, surprisingly many are still left confused and not able to take advantage of it.Cloud computing opens up the possibility of businesses getting into whole new markets that they could never address before. At Solunus, we strive to assemble cloud solutions that enable this business transformation.

Here is a short primer on cloud computing that helps you understand cloud technologies.

So, What is Cloud Computing?

Since the word ‘Cloud’ is a metaphor for ‘the Internet’, cloud computing is also known as internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices—such as servers, storage and applications—on demand through the Internet.

What Resources Are Shared Over the Cloud?

Understanding the three pillars of the cloud computing service models will help you understand what are shared over the cloud.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service is the delivery of equipment such as CPU, disk/server space or network components as a service across the Internet. These resources are usually delivered as a virtualization platform by the cloud provider and can be accessed on demand, elastic fashion in a pay-as-you-go model.

Some of the biggest names in IaaS include Amazon Web Services, Bluelock, CSC, GoGrid, IBM, OpenStack, RackSpace, Savvis, Terremark, and VMware.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the delivery of hardware and operating systems which enables clients to deploy their own custom software applications using the tools and programming languages offered by the provider over the internet. Clients have control over the deployed applications and environment-related settings.

Some of the biggest names in PaaS include Amazon Web Services, Salesforce1, Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, RightScale, Appistry, Long Jump, IBM Smart Cloud, Open Shift by Red Hat, and Engine yard.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software as a service (SaaS) refers to web-hosted software application. Client has no worry over hardware to purchase as well as software installation, maintenance, or update. SaaS is ranging from core business functions to industry-specific processes.

Some of the biggest names in SaaS include Salesforce, Workday, Netsuite, Service Now, and Concur.

Five Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing

According to National Institute of Standards and Technology, it’s not cloud computing unless it has all the following 5 essential characteristics…

  • On-demand self-service Basically, you request services for yourself when you need them without having to communicate with service provider.
  • Broad network access
    Cloud services are located elsewhere and available to you as long as you have internet access!
  • Resource pooling
    Multiple users share the same resources which are securely separated on logical level. Cloud provider allocates portions of these logical resource groups to various users, add and remove compute resources, or reorganize pools as required.
  • Rapid elasticity
    Rapid elasticity is a cloud computing term for scalable provisioning, which means the ability to provide scalable services. Resources are provisioned and released on-demand and/or automated based on triggers or parameters. The cloud is able to quickly grow or shrink to meet the change in demand.
  • Measured service
    Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability to the type of services such as storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts. Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.

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How Can You Deploy Cloud?

Depending on the level of security and management criteria, business can select cloud deployment model that serves their needs.

  • Public cloud
    With public cloud deployment, your organization shares infrastructure with multiple companies using the same to store data off-premises with cloud providers. You take full advantage of pay-as-you-go services, scalability to accommodate increasing workloads and somewhat hassle-free management and maintenance.
  • Private cloud
    Private clouds are for those who are concerned about releasing sensitive data to a public cloud.  With private cloud, your cloud environments are protected behind a firewall and only accessible by your organization—allowing IT admins to maintain the control.
  • Hybrid cloud
    A hybrid cloud combines public clouds and private clouds. The idea is achieved by managing mission-critical data on premise in a private cloud while moving less critical applications to a public cloud. The organization may use an individual cloud provider who offers a complete hybrid package, or use different providers for private and public services then seamlessly integrate all the platforms.

Cloud computing is the future and it is here to stay. Computer World predicts that cloud initiatives will be the single most important IT initiatives in 2015. We hope that we do our part to help you brush up on your cloud terminology a bit.


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