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What is Cloud Computing ?

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources and applications via the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. Whether your applications that share photos to millions of mobile users or deliver services that support the critical operations of your business, the cloud provides rapid access to flexible and low-cost IT resources. With cloud computing, you don’t need to make a large up-front investment in hardware and spend a lot of time managing that hardware. Instead, you can provision exactly the right type and size of computing resources you need to power your newest bright idea or operate IT department. with cloud computing, you can access as many resources as you need, almost instantly, and only pay for what you use.

In its simplest form, cloud computing provides an easy way to access servers, storage, databases, and a broad set of application services over the internet. cloud computing providers such as AWS,  Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure etc. own and maintain the network-connected hardware required for these application services, while you provision and use what you need for your workloads.

Definitions:

A Gartner report listing cloud computing at the top of its strategic technology areas further reaffirmed its prominence as an industry trend by announcing its formal definition as :

“A style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies”

This is a slight revision of Gartner’s original definitions from 2008, in which “massively scalable” was used instead of “Scalable and elastic.” This acknowledges the importance of scalability in relation to the ability to scale vertically and jus to enormous proportions.

Forrester Research provided Its own definition of cloud computing as:

“A standardized IT capability 9services, software, or infrastructure delivered via Internet technologies in a pay-per-use, self-service way.” 

The definition that received industry-wide acceptance was composed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST published its original definition back in 2009, followed by a revised after further review and Industry input that was published in September of 2011.

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network acces 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. This cloud model is composed of five essential characterisrtics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

Worf also provides a more concise defination:

“Cloud computing is a specialised form of distributed computing that introduces utilization models for remotely provisioning scalable and measured resoources.”

Advatages of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing introducing a revolutionary shift in how technology is obtained, used and managed, and in how organisations budget and pay for technology services. with the ability to reconfigure the computing environment quickly to adapt to changing business requirements, organisations can optimize spending.  Capacity can be automatically scaled up or down to meet fluctuating usage patterns.  Services can be temporarily taken offline or shut down permanently as business demands dictate. In addition, with pay-per-use billing, AWS Cloud services become an operational expense instead of a capital expense.

While each organisation experiences a unique journey to the cloud with numerous benefits, six advantages become apparent time and again, as illustrated below.

cloud computing

Business Drivers

Before delving into the layers of technologies that underline clouds, the motivations that led to their creation by industry leaders must first be understood. Several of the primary business drivers that fostered modern cloud-based technology are presented in this section.

The origins and inspirations of many of the characteristics, models, and mechanisms covered throughout subsequent chapters can be traced back to the upcoming business drivers. It is important to note that influences shaped clouds and the overall cloud computing in support of their business automation requirements. They have correspondingly motivated other organizations to become providers of cloud environments and cloud technology vendors in order to create and meet the demand to fulfil consumer needs.

Capacity Planning

Capacity planning is the process of determining and fulfilling the future demands of an organization’s IT resources, products, and services. within this context, capacity represents the maximum amount of work that an IT resource is capable of delivering in a given period of time. A discrepancy between the capacity of an IT resource and its demand can result in a system becoming either inefficient (over-provisioning ) or unable to fulfil user needs (under-provisioning). Capacity planning is focused on minimizing this discrepancy to achieve predictable efficiency and performance.

Different capacity planning strategies exist:

  • Led Strategy – Adding capacity to an IT resource in anticipation of demand
  • Lag strategy – adding capacity when the IT resource reaches its Full capacity
  • Match Strategy – adding IT resource capacity in small increments, as demand increases.

Planning for capacity can be challenging because it requires estimating usage load fluctuations. There is a constant need to balance peak usage requirements without unnecessary over – expenditure on infrastructure. An example is outfitting IT infrastructure to accommodate maximum usage loads which can impose unreasonable financial investment. In such cases, moderating investments can result in under-provisioning, leading to transaction losses and other usage limitations from lowered usage thresholds.

Cost reduction

A direct alignment between IT costs and business performance can be difficult to maintain. The growth of IT environments often corresponds to the assessment of their maximum usage requirements. This can make the support of new and expanded business automation an ever-increasing investment. Much of this required investment is funnelled into infrastructure expansion because the usage potential of a given automation solution will always be limited by the processing power if Its underlying infrastructure.

Two cost need to be accounted for: The cost of acquiring new infrastructure, and the cost of its ongoing ownership. operational overhead represents a considerable share of IT budgets, often exceeding up-front investment costs.

common forms of infostructure -related operating include the following :

  1. Technical personnel required to keep the environment operational 
  2. Upgrades and patched that introduces additional testing and deployment cycles.
  3. Utility bills and capital expense investments for power and cooling, 
  4. Security and access control measures that need to maintained and enforces to protect infrastructure resources. 
  5. Administrative and accounts staff that maybe requires to keep track of licences and support arrangements

The on-going ownership o internal technology infrastructure can encompass burdensome responsibilities that impose compound impacts on corporate budgets. IT departments can consequently become significant – and at times overwhelming-drain on the business, potentially inhibiting its responsiveness, profitability, and overall evolution.

Organizational Agility

Business needs the ability to adapt and evolve to successfully face change caused by both internal and external factors. organizational agility is the measure of an organization’s responsiveness to change.

An IT enterprise often needs to respond to business change by scaling its IT resources beyond the scope of what previously predictor planed for. for example infrastructure may be subject to limitations that prevent the organization from responding to usage fluctuations- even when anticipated- if previous capacity planning efforts were restricted by inadequate budgets.

In other cases, changing business needs and priorities may require IT resources to be more available and reliable than before. Even if sufficient infrastructure is in place for an organization to supports anticipated usage volumes, the nature of the usage may generate runtime exceptions that bring down hosting servers. Due to lack of reliability controls withing the infrastructure, responsiveness to consumer or customer requirements may be reduced to a point whereby a business overall continuity is threatened.

On a broader scale, the up-front investments and infrastructure ownership costs that are required to enable new or expanded business automation solutions may themselves be prohibitive enough for a business to settle for IT infrastructure of less than ideal quality, thereby decreasing its ability to meet real-world requirements.

Worse yet, the business may decide against proceeding with automation solutions altogether upon review of its infrastructure budget, because it simply cannot afford to. This form of inability to respond can inhibit an organization from keeping up with market demands, competitive pressures, and its own strategic business goals.

Technology Innvoation

Established technologies are often used as inspiration and , at imes, the actual foundations upon which new technology innovations are derived and built . This section briefly describes the pre-existing technmologies considered to be the primary influences on cloud computng.

Clustering

A cluster is group of independent IT resources that are interconnnected and work are a single sytem. System failutre rates reduced while availibility and reliability are incresed , since redundancy and failover features are inherent to the cluster.

A general prerequiste of hardware clustering is that its component systems have resonably identical hardware and operating systems to provide similat perormance levels when oe field component is to be repaces by anoher. component devices that form a cluster are kept in syncronization through dedicated . High-speed communicaton links.

Thee basic concept of built-in redundancy and failover is core to cloud platforms. clustering technolology is exxplored further in future posts as a part of the resources cluster mechnanisms description.

Grid Computing

A computing grid ( or “computational grid” ) provides a platform in which computing resources are organised into one or more logical pols. These pools are collectively coordinated to provide a high performance distributed grid, sometimes refferred to as a “Super virtual computer”. Grid computing difers from clustering in that grid systems are much more loosely coupled and distributed. As a result, grid computing systems can involve computing resources that are heterogeneous and geographically dispersed, Which is generally not possible with cluster computing-based systems.

Grid computing has been an on-going research are in computing science since that early 1990s. The technological advancements achived by grid computing projects have influenced various aspects of cloud computing platforms and mechnaisms, specifically in relation to common feature-sets such as networked access, resource pooling, and scalibilty and resiliency. These types of feature can be established by both grid computing and cloud compuing, in their own distinctve approcaches.

For example , grid compting is based on middleware layer that is eployed on computing resources. These IT resources participate in a grid poo; that implements a series of workload distributation an dcoordination functons. This middle tier can contain load balancing logic, failover controls and automnomic configuration managemnt , each having previously inspired similat and serveral more sophisticated – cloud computing technologies. IT is for this reason that some cassify cloud computing as a descendent os earlier grid computng initiattives.

Virtualization

Virutalization represents a techhnology platform used or the creation of vrtual instances of IT resources. A layer of virtualization software allows physical IT resources to provide multiple virtuaal images of themselves so that their underlyng processsng capabiliie can be shared by multiple uders.

Prior to the advent of virtualization technologies, software was limtied to residing on and being coupled computing mechnaisms, having inspired many of their core features. As cloud computing evolved, a generation of modern virutalization process severs this software-hardware dependency, as hard ware requirements can be simulaated by emulaion sotware running in virtualized enviornments.

Established vrtualization technologies can be traced to several cloud charactersticts and cloud computing mechanisms , having inspired many of their core features. As cloud computing evolved , a generation of modern virutalization technologies emerged to overcome the performance, reliability, and scalability limitations of tradinational virtualization platforms.

As a foundation of contemporary cloud technology, modern virtualization provides a variety of virtualizaton types and technology layers that are discusssed separately in later up-coming posts.

Technology Innovations vs. Enabling Technologies

It is essential to highlight several other areas of technology that continue to contribute to modern-day cloud-based platforms. These are distinguished as cloud-enabling technologies, the following of which will be covered in future posts.

  • Broadband Networks and Internet Architecture
  • Data Center Technology
  • (Modern) Vrtualization Technology
  • Web Technology
  • Multitenant Technology
  • Service Technology

Each of these clod-enabling technologies existed in some form prior to the formal advent  of cloud somputing. Some were refined further, and on ocasion even redefined, as a result of the subsequent of cloud computing.

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