Business applications are moving to the cloud. It’s not just a fad - the shift from traditional software models to the Internet has steadily gained momentum over the last 10 years.
Cloud Computing is an information technology services new models that provide internet-based dynamic and often large-scale virtual resources. “Cloud” the term describes an image of the complex infrastructure, which cover all the technical details. In this case, information is permanently stored in the global network servers and temporarily stored on the client computer.
Life before cloud computing
Traditional business applications have always been very complicated and expensive. The amount and variety of hardware and software required to run them are daunting. You need a whole team of experts to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them.
When you multiply this effort across dozens or hundreds of apps, it’s easy to see why the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting the apps they need. Small and mid-sized businesses don’t stand a chance.
Cloud computing: a better way
With cloud computing, you eliminate those headaches because you’re not managing hardware and software - that’s the responsibility of an experienced vendor like Salesforce.com. Salesforce.com is the enterprise cloud computing company. The shared infrastructure means it works like a utility: You only pay for what you need, upgrades are automatic, and scaling up or down is easy.
Cloud-based apps can be up and running in days or weeks, and they cost less. With a cloud app, you just open a browser, log in, customize the app, and start using it.
Businesses are running all kinds of apps in the cloud, like customer relationship management (CRM), HR, accounting, and much more. Some of the world’s largest companies moved their applications to the cloud with salesforce.com after rigorously testing the security and reliability of our infrastructure.
As cloud computing grows in popularity, thousands of companies are simply rebranding their non-cloud products and services as “cloud computing.” Always dig deeper when evaluating cloud offerings and keep in mind that if you have to buy and manage hardware and software, what you’re looking at isn’t really cloud computing but a false cloud.
Cloud 2: Mobility and collaboration
The latest innovations in cloud computing are making our business applications even more mobile and collaborative similar to popular consumer apps like Facebook and Twitter. As consumers, we now expect that the information we care about will be pushed to us in real time, and business applications in the cloud are heading in that direction as well. With Cloud 2, keeping up with your work is as easy as keeping up with your personal life on Facebook.
Cloud computing is Web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet.
Cloud computing is a technology that uses the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and applications. Cloud computing allows consumers and businesses to use applications without installation and access their personal files at any computer with internet access. This technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth.
A simple example of cloud computing is Yahoo email or Gmail etc. You dont need a software or a server to use them. All a consumer would need is just an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and email management software is all on the cloud (Internet) and is totally managed by the cloud service provider Yahoo, Google etc. The consumer gets to use the software alone and enjoy the benefits.
These services are broadly divided into the following Layers and categories:
- Category: Cloud clients
- Category: Cloud applications or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Category: Cloud platforms or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
- Category: Cloud infrastructure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
- Category: Servers
Each category serves a different purpose and offers different products for businesses and individuals around the world.
A cloud client consists of computer hardware and/or computer software that relies on cloud computing for application delivery, or that is specifically designed for delivery of cloud services and that, in either case, is essentially useless without it. Examples include some computers, phones and other devices, operating systems and browsers.
Cloud applications or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Cloud application services or “Software as a Service (SaaS)” deliver software as a service over the Internet, eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer’s own computers and simplifying maintenance and support. People tend to use the terms “SaaS” and ‘cloud’ interchangeably, when in fact they are two different things. Key characteristics include:
- Network-based access to, and management of, commercially available (i.e., not custom) software.
- Activities that are managed from central locations rather than at each customer’s site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the Web.
- Application delivery that typically is closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a one-to-one model.
- Centralized feature updating, which obviates the need for downloadable patches and upgrades.
Thus in the software-as-a-service cloud model, the vendor supplies the hardware infrastructure, the software product and interacts with the user through a front-end portal. SaaS is a very broad market. Services can be anything from Web-based email to inventory control and database processing. Because the service provider hosts both the application and the data, the end user is free to use the service from anywhere.
Cloud platforms or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
Cloud platform services or “Platform as a Service (PaaS)” deliver a computing platform and/or solution stack as a service, often consuming cloud infrastructure and sustaining cloud applications. It facilitates deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers.
Thus Platform-as-a-service in the cloud is defined as a set of software and product development tools hosted on the provider's infrastructure. Developers create applications on the provider's platform over the Internet. PaaS providers may use APIs (application program interfaces), website portals or gateway software installed on the customer's computer. Force.com, (an outgrowth of Salesforce.com) and GoogleApps are examples of PaaS. Developers need to know that currently, there are not standards for interoperability or data portability in the cloud. Some providers will not allow software created by their customers to be moved off the provider's platform.
Cloud infrastructure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
Cloud infrastructure services, also known as “Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)”, delivers computer infrastructure - typically a platform virtualization environment - as a service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, data-center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service. Suppliers typically build such services on a utility computing basis and amount of resources consumed (and therefore the cost) will typically reflect the level of activity. IaaS evolved from virtual private server offerings.
Thus Infrastructure-as-a-Service like Amazon Web Services provides virtual server instances with unique IP addresses and blocks of storage on demand. Customers use the provider's application program interface (API) to start, stop, access and configure their virtual servers and storage. In the enterprise, cloud computing allows a company to pay for only as much capacity as is needed, and bring more online as soon as required. Because this pay-for-what-you-use model resembles the way electricity, fuel and water are consumed; it's sometimes referred to as utility computing.
The server’s layer consists of computer hardware and/or computer software products that are specifically designed for the delivery of cloud services, including multi-core processors, cloud-specific operating systems and combined offerings.
A cloud can be public, community, hybrid or private.
A public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet. (Currently, Amazon Web Services is the largest public cloud provider.)
Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage model.
The main benefits of using a public cloud service are:
- Easy and inexpensive set-up because hardware, application and bandwidth costs are covered by the provider.
- Scalability to meet needs.
- No wasted resources because you pay for what you use.
A community cloud may be established where several organizations have similar requirements and seek to share infrastructure so as to realize some of the benefits of cloud computing. With the costs spread over fewer users than a public cloud (but more than a single tenant) this option is more expensive but may offer a higher level of privacy, security and/or policy compliance. Examples of community cloud include Google's “Gov Cloud”.
A hybrid cloud environment consisting of multiple internal and/or external providers “will be typical for most enterprises”. By integrating multiple cloud services users may be able to ease the transition to public cloud services while avoiding issues such as PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance.
Another perspective on deploying a web application in the cloud is using Hybrid Web Hosting, where the hosting infrastructure is a mix between Cloud Hosting for the web server, and Managed dedicated server for the database server.
A hybrid storage cloud uses a combination of public and private storage clouds. Hybrid storage clouds are often useful for archiving and backup functions, allowing local data to be replicated to a public cloud.
A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people.
Private cloud (also called internal cloud or corporate cloud) is a marketing term for a proprietary computing architecture that provides hosted services to a limited number of people behind a firewall.
When a service provider uses public cloud resources to create their private cloud, the result is called a virtual private cloud. Private or public, the goal of cloud computing is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services.
Hosting your information on an outsourced system (that is maintained by a third-party) can really free up space and cut costs. With cloud hosting, you can
- Access your data at all times – not just while in the office
- A physical storage center is no longer needed
- Most have a pay structure that only calls for payment only when used
- Relieves burden on IT Professionals and frees up their time in the office
- Easily scalable so companies can add or subtract storage based on their own needs.
If you are going to move all of your information to data centers situated outside your company, then security should be of utmost importance.
- Lost control comes with handing over your data and information
- Depending on third-party to ensure the security and confidentiality of data and information
- If your cloud host disappears, where does your information go?