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An Introduction to Cloud World

CONTENT SUMMARY


Cloud Computing (Introduction)
An outline of how the technology actually works
An assessment of the technology development and how we would
expect to see the technology develop in the next few years
An idea of the key players and an indication of the strategies they are pursuing
How cloud computing will impact on both industry and individuals
References

 
CLOUD COMPUTING


Cloud computing is a technology that is based on the concept of resource & information sharing (Information shared is more useful than Information itself). Instead of developing, operating, hosting and maintaining scalable IT resources locally, they are shared via internet from remote service providers (this is possible because of the high speed internet connections). Cloud computing has the ability to dynamically provision, configure, reconfigure and de-provision server and application resources to suit various client needs. It follows a utility computing model where customers need to pay only for what they utilize.

In other words it’s the convergence of the 3 major trends:

  • Virtualization: where applications are separated from infrastructure.
  • Utility computing: where server capacity is accessed to cross the grid as a variably price shared service.
  • Software as a service (SaaS, PaaS and IAAS: where applications /platforms/attached services/infrastructure that is available on demand on a subscription basis.

The servers used to operate cloud computing can be physical machines or virtual machines. A cloud typically includes the following resources in order to operate:

IT Resources includes Application, Services, Platform & Infrastructure on which they operate and other resources such as Storage area networks (SANs) which is an architecture to attach remote computer storage devices (such as disk arrays, tape libraries, and optical jukeboxes) to servers. This is because not only the space requirement of applications that run on the cloud but also the hosting space need to be provided as a service. Moreover, Network equipment, a powerful firewall & security devices etc. In traditional enterprise computing, IT departments forecast demand for applications and capacity and invest time and money to develop those resources in-house or purchase them from others, re-configure and operate them in-house or outsource.

 
AN OUTLINE OF HOW THE TECHNOLOGY ACTUALLY WORKS

The platforms let developers write applications that run in the cloud, or They can use services provided
from the cloud, or both. As shown in figure 1Different names are used for this kind of platform &
services including on-demand platform and PaaS, SaaS, IAAS etc.

  • Software as a service (SaaS):
    Saas applications run completely in the server side. The clients who are on-premises will be accessing
    the service via a browser or simple client software.
    E.g. salesforce.com
    Salesforce.com clients: google, Electronic Arts, Dell, LinkedIn, Tulip, Bajaj finance, NBC universal
  • Attached services:
    There are lots of on-premises applications that we use for different purposes each with its unique useful
    features. Some application-specific cloud applications can be attached to these on-premises applications
    to enhance services or to add functionalities.
    For instance, Microsoft Exchange adds cloud-based spam filtering, archiving, and other services to an
    on-premises exchange server. Moreover, Apple iTunes desktop application that plays music is attached
    with cloud applications that enable buying of audio & video.
  • Cloud platforms – Platform as a service (PaaS):
    Cloud platform provides services/software to the developers for creating applications on top of it. This
    is one of the strengths of cloud computing. Instead of initially building the foundation to build the
    software application on top of it we can straight away start building the application with use of
    platforms provided by the cloud. The developers are the end user of platforms (not end users).
  • IAAS – Infrastructure as a Service
    IAAS delivers computer infrastructure, typically a platform virtualization environment as a service.
    Infrastructure as a Service Cloud Computing where the pool of services consist specifically of
    Infrastructure resources and capacity (storage, CPU, network). Another important fact is Server
    Virtualization that is the execution of multiple virtual server environments on one or more physical
    servers.

Figure 1: Some categories of cloud services

When considering the architecture there is no single or standard architectural method for cloud
computing. However there are some accepted methods or we can call them as different approaches,
each with its own examples, capabilities and unique characteristics.

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND HOW WE WOULD EXPECT TO SEE THE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOP IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS


Cloud computing is a fast growing IT technology that gives massive benefits to all its customers of all
sizes. It grows very rapidly because it’s simple to acquire and to scale up or down that creates huge
opportunities for application/infrastructure vendors.
Public clouds can be beneficial for some but not for all applications. These public cloud providers offer
relatively undifferentiated common services. Meanwhile private clouds bring benefits for internal
applications that enable customized applications and services for consumers. A combination of both
can also be used as needed.
It has the potential of achieving massive internet penetration and infrastructure maturity in future.
According to analysts it’s believed that cloud will play a major role in IT few years time. Moreover
some higher education IT leaders believe that there will be an increase on cloud computing on campus.
As the cloud computing reach success levels, more of the organizations will try it out & adapt to it and
as well as the confidence on the cloud will grow with it.
Policy & technological issues must be sorted out because there is a risk of loosing confidence among
clients in a situation of a breach on a cloud provider.
Microsoft and other competitors, such as Yahoo, Amazon, Google, and IBM etc have been building
cloud-computing infrastructure and new software at a rapid pace to service the large number of
potential users. Microsoft’s business now depends on an ever-expanding network of massive data
centers.
Mobile Cloud Computing: The mobile platform is going to be heavily impacted by this technology as
well. Number of users the technology can reach is massive.
Other examples: IDGA Cloud Computing for DoD & Government

 
KEY PLAYERS 


Competitive battlefields for established and emerging players are:
Collaboration Wars, Business-Oriented Social Networks, Platforms-as-a-Service Wars, Cloud
Governance, IT and Service Management, Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS), E-Health and Energy
Management, Millennials, and Generation Z.

IBM (Blue cloud)
IBM approaches cloud computing “from the inside out” as it describes it. This means that Big Blue’s
focus is on building the most secure, efficient and resilient infrastructure for today’s organizations and

building the cloud experience as part of that infrastructure. In addition, IBM is the premier company to
help build an organization’s private cloud, or leverage any of the many IT services that are today
provided by IBM through cloud computing, like Capacity on Demand, or the IBM Information
Protection Services.
Wuxii Cloud in center is an IBM first commercial cloud center in the world. That is a cloud size for
small & midsize enterprise.
Strategies:

  • IBM guarantees their clients an upward & downward compatibility of their products for 10 years.
  • Delivers a cloud computing strategy that helps align IT and the business
  • Identifies the workloads best suited for cloud computing, helping achieve optimum benefits from
    cloud computing investments. Develops a road map to help ensure a smooth implementation
  • Rethink and challenge current business models, testing processes and IT strategy in order to deliver
    real business impact. Assesses your business strategy, as well as cloud opportunity and readiness, to
    help determine how you can deliver cloud computing for increased customer value.
  • Strategy and operating models for target market segmentation, customer readiness and alignment with
    business goals. Implementation roadmap that defines the entire process, along with a project plan
    needed to launch a cloud environment.
  • IBM Testing Services for Cloud provides a comprehensive understanding of the business value of a
    cloud test solution through a strategic road map and business case that identifies high-priority, costreduction
    opportunities associated with software test practices, defect prevention and application
    virtualization.
    Amazon web services
    It uses various products to attract customers such as compute, content delivery, database, e-commerce,
    messaging, monitoring, networking, Payments & Billing, Storage, Web Traffic, and Workforce.
    Amazon EC2 provides developers the tools to build failure resilient applications and isolate themselves
    from common failure scenarios. Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used
    to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web.
    Strategies:
    Resizable compute capacity in the cloud: Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to
    obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction (load management business).
    Pay only for what they use: Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to
    pay only for capacity that you actually use.

Microsoft
Windows Azure provides a scalable environment with compute, storage, hosting, and management
capabilities. It links to on-premises applications with secure connectivity, messaging, and identity
management. SQL Azure is a Relational Database for the Cloud. AppFabric makes it simpler to
connect on-premises applications with the Cloud. Live Mesh: This cloud setup synchronize files with
all of your devices like laptop, Mac, mobile phone or others. Not only does it allow the users to access
the files from any device, it also enables sharing of files and notifying them whenever needed.
One skill set of Microsoft’s that will likely help them lead the cloud – and this is critical: “Microsoft
understands management, Google doesn’t, Amazon doesn’t, Salesforce sort of does.” In contrast,
Microsoft has a full management platform. “They’ve got systems set-up, they’ve got security management, application management, uptime, availability, recoverability – they have management
capabilities.” says Andi Mann, an analyst with Enterprise Research Associates.
3Tera: This cloud computing platform offers AppLogic grid OS that enables infrastructure solutions
according to the changing needs of business. AppLogic ensures full control of the cloud environment
and online deployment of applications.
Force.com: This cloud computing framework by salesforce.com provides one of the fastest platforms
for building and deploying enterprise application. Force.com allows building of core business
applications on demand such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resource management
(HRM) and supply chain management (SCM).
Appistry (Cloud computing middleware): It provides one of the simplest cloud computing platforms
for enterprises. Appistry allows easily scalable cloud computing. Appistry provides and manages a
wide variety of applications and services for both public and private clouds.
AppNexus: This cloud computing set up takes just 30 minutes to reserve with AppNexus the user can
launch several operating systems, run a variety of applications, load balance these applications and
store huge amount of secure data.
Flexiscale: This is pay-as-you-go utility with multi OS support. It offers automatic scaling to meet the
demand in real time. Flexiscale self services through Control Panel or API. Flexiscale features full selfservice
– start/stop/delete, change memory/CPU/storage/IPs of Virtual Dedicated Servers.
GoGrid: This is a division of a dedicated hosting company. GoGrid offers unique multi-server control
panel that enables the user to deploy and manage load-balanced cloud servers within minutes.
Moreover, it offers full control in the cloud by combining several familiar features of dedicated server
or managed hosting with the flexibility and scalability of cloud server hosting.
Terremark Enterprise Cloud: The Enterprise is a revolutionary new managed platform that gives you
the power to computing resources for your mission-critical applications in minutes, not days. Instead of
buying costly, cumbersome servers, Enterprise Cloud services lets you control a resource pool of
processing, storage and networking and allows you to deploy server capacity on demand.
Google: GoogleApp Engine: This is a free setup that allows the users to run their web application on
Google infrastructure. Google App Engine makes it easy to scale the traffic and data storage, as the
need grows. Currently the App engine is restricted to Python & java but has plans to support more
languages in future. This app engine requires no servers to maintain and the applications are instantly
ready for user just after uploading. The users can build their own apps, integrate & sell to customers
who use googleApps(google docs, calendar, groups, gmail). When individual users sell their products
google will get some portion of the profit.
Oracle & Sun: Together they play a major role in cloud computing. Delivers enterprise computing
power and resources over the Internet, enabling developers, researchers, scientists and businesses to
optimize performance, speed time to results, and accelerate innovation without investment in IT
infrastructure.

 
HOW CLOUD COMPUTING WILL IMPACT ON BOTH INDUSTRY AND INDIVIDUALS

Cloud computing will provide a common infrastructure across the entire infrastructure needs across the
world that makes life easier. It helps the consistency of the industry standards.
In traditional computing, the demand for applications and capacity are forecasted by the IT department
and they invest lot of money, time & human resource to build them in-house or else they will go for a
purchase decision.

In contrast, cloud computing have the following advantages:

  • Faster, simpler, cheaper to use clouds has created more and more business opportunities for both
    individuals & in the industry. It has opened lot of opportunities not only for Industry players but
    also for individuals to build applications of top of clouds. The best example is googleApp engine
    that enable users to build applications using java or python & tools provided by google. Desktop
    Virtualization Replacing the physical desktop environment with a virtual desktop hosted on a
    centrally located server. (E.g. cloud operating systems – cloudo, icloud, oos.cc, eyeos)
  • Only pay for what you use: Lowest cost way of delivering and supporting applications.
    Organizations only need to pay for the services & resources they use.
  • Ability to obtain these resources on an as-needed basis so that clients can only purchase the
    required services & applications while avoiding unnecessary costs of hardware & software.
  • Improved Extensibility & competitive advantage:
    With cloud computing organizations can add new IT services or applications while the system is up
    and running. This will impact dramatically because down time of strategic systems can be very
    crucial for some organizations. In a mature cloud computing environment, institutions would be
    able to add new IT services or respond to changes in capacity on the fly, saving capital costs that
    can be redirected to programs of strategic value to the institution there by gaining competitive
    advantage.
  • Easier for application vendors to reach new customers:
    Moreover the businesses can become more competitive because they can talk to anyone that is
    connected in to the cloud & share ideas/information to build ecosystems & come up with new
    business models which will be the most compelling aspect of cloud is computing.
  • Avoiding capital cost & barriers to entry; No upfront capital required for servers, storage, software
    and hardware. One of the major issues in adapting to IT services on organizations & for new
    entrants to the industry is the capital that need to be invested. Emergence of cloud computing has
    enabled organizations to purchase these resources avoiding the capital cost.
  • Device and location independence: Applications can be accessed from anywhere, anytime
  • Ability to drive down data center operational costs: it does not need to be installed or maintained on
    individual computers in-house servers. Moreover, low management overhead, and immediate
    access to a broad range of applications
  • Reliability is a arguable factor; Although clouds increase availability of systems via clustered
    redundant sites most of the companies don’t like to keep their data outside their firewall.
  • Low risk: In general, users can terminate the contract at any time (thereby avoiding return on
    investment risk and uncertainty), and the services are often covered by SLAs with financial
    penalties.

References


Bennett, S. Bhuller, M. Covington, R. 2009. Oracle White Paper in Enterprise Architecture-
Architectural Strategies for Cloud Computing : Oracle Corporation.[Online].Available
http://www.oracle.com/technology/architect/entarch/pdf/architectural_strategies_for_cloud_computing.
pdf [August 2009]
2009. Introduction to Cloud Computing architecture White Paper: Sun
Microsystems.[Online].Available
http://www.sun.com/featured-articles/CloudComputing.pdf [June 2009]
Chappell, D. 2008. A short Introduction to cloud platforms – An Enterprise oriented view
: Chappell & Associates.[Online].Available
http://www.davidchappell.com/CloudPlatforms–Chappell.pdf [AUGUST 2008]
Boss, G. Malladi, P. Quan, D. Legregni, L. Hall, H. 2007. Cloud Computing : IBM High Performance
On Demand Solutions (HiPODS).[Online].Available
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/websphere/zones/hipods/ [8 October 2007]
Jeffrey M. 2010. 8 Key Competitive Battlefields in Cloud Computing in 2010.[Online].Available
http://seekingalpha.com/article/180730-8-key-competitive-battlefields-in-cloud-computing-in-2010 [4
January 2010]
Geelan,J. 2009. The Top 150 Players in Cloud Computing. [Online].Available. http://silverlight.syscon.
com/node/770174 [29 OCTOBER 2009]
Videos references & other websites:
LeFever,S. LeFeve ,L. 2010. http://www.commoncraft.com/cloud-computing-video
http://www.youtube.com
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-QcLipaJ26iE/an_economic_architecture_for_cloud_computing/
http://internet2.edu/
http://cloudwf.com/

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