Cloud computing refers to the practice of transitioning computer services such as computation or data storage to multiple redundant offsite locations available on the Internet, which allows application software to be operated using internet-enabled devices.
The essential characteristics of Cloud Computing:
- On-demand self-service: Individuals can obtain computing capabilities such as server time or network storage on their own.
- Ubiquitous network access: Individuals can use standard network and Internet devices, including mobile platforms to access cloud resources.
- Location independent resource pooling: Computing resources are pooled to serve multiple users, with different virtual resources dynamically assigned according to user demand. The user generally does not know where the computing resources are located.
- Rapid elasticity: Computing resources can be rapidly provisioned, increased, or decreased to meet changing user demand.
- Measured services: Charges for cloud resources are based on amount of resources actually used.
Cloud computing consists of three different types of services:
Cloud infrastructure as a service: Customers use processing, storage, networking, and other computing resources from cloud service providers to run their information systems. Users pay only for the amount of computing and storage capacity they actually use.
Cloud platform as a service: Customers use infrastructure and programming tools hosted by the service provider to develop their own applications.
Cloud software as a service: Customers use software hosted by the vendor on the vendor’s hardware and delivered over a network. Users access these applications from a Web browser, and the data and software are maintained on the providers’ remote server.
Major types of cloud used:
A cloud can be private or public. A public cloud is maintained by an external service provider, such as Amazon Web Services, accessed through the Internet, and available to the general public. A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that ties together servers, storage, networks, data and applications as a set of virtualized services that are shared by users inside a company. Like public clouds, private clouds are able to allocate storage, computing power, or other resources seamlessly to provide computing resources on an as-needed basis.
Since organizations using cloud computing generally do not own the infrastructure, they do not have to make large investments in their own hardware and software. Instead, they purchase their computing services from remote providers and pay only for the amount of computing power they actually use (utility computing) or are billed on a monthly or annual subscription basis.
There are some who believe that cloud computing represents a sea change in the way computing will be performed by corporations as business computing shifts out of private data centers into cloud services. Cloud computing is more immediately appealing to small and medium-sized businesses that lack resources to purchase and own their own hardware and software. However, large corporations have huge investments in complex proprietary systems supporting unique business processes, some of which give them strategic advantages. For them, the most likely scenario is a hybrid computing model where firms use their own infrastructure for their most essential core activities and adopt public cloud computing for less-critical systems or for additional processing capacity during peak business periods.
Cloud computing will gradually shift firms from having a fixed infrastructure capacity toward a more flexible infrastructure, some of it owned by the firm, and some of it rented from giant computer centers owned by computer hardware vendors.
Much more details about how to strategize whether to change IT workload to cloud or no and how to proceed about it., benefits of moving their IT workloads to the cloud, factors to be considered in decision-making etc in the next blog..