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Cloud System and Technologies

Belize_394881
(Belize, Central America - Jeff M. Wang)
 
 

 

Cloud Technology

 

- The Core of Cloud Computing - The Internet

When the Internet was in its infancy the word 'cloud' was used as a metaphor to describe how the complex telephone networks connected. Cloud is a model of computing where servers, networks, storage, development tools, and even applications (apps) are enabled through the Internet.

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. As cloud computing becomes mainstream, organizations are now moving toward adopting it into the in-house processes. As such, almost all industries are witnessing an increase in the use of cloud-based platforms and services. 

Today cloud computing is a part of everyday life - 96% of businesses use the cloud in one form or another, and this number only looks set to grow. Cloud computing is also sometimes referred to as utility computing, since consumer usage of cloud systems is metered and billed in a manner similar to a commodity like water or electric services. 

Cloud technology is helping businesses and people weather the ongoing storm caused by the global pandemic (COVID-19). As companies adapt to become elastic digital workplaces and deal with an increase in online demand and remote working, they're migrating their services and data to the cloud. For businesses that have already begun the move to cloud computing, they're accelerating a transformation that will lead the way forward in the years to come.

 

- Five Key Characteristics of A Cloud Computing

There are five key characteristics of a cloud computing environment, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): internet access, measured services, on-demand self-service, shared resource pooling, and rapid elasticity. 

  • Internet Access: With a public cloud environment, users "plug into" the data and applications via an internet connection giving anytime, anywhere access. 
  • Measured Service: Cloud is often pay-as-you-go, where you only pay for what you use. Think about how a utility company meters how much water, electricity, or gas is used and charges based on consumption. The cloud is the same. 
  • On-Demand Self-Service: Services can be requested and provisioned quickly, without the need for manual setup and configuration. 
  • Shared Resource Pooling: Cloud often uses the multi-tenancy model. This means a single application is shared among several users. So, rather than creating a copy of the application for each user, several users, or "tenants" can configure the application to their specific needs. 
  • Rapid Elasticity: Cloud platforms are elastic. An organization can scale its resource usage levels up or down quickly and easily as needs change.

 

- Cloud and Security

Certainly many companies remain concerned about the security of cloud services, although breaches of security are rare. How secure you consider cloud computing to be will largely depend on how secure your existing systems are. In-house systems managed by a team with many other things to worry about are likely to be more leaky than systems monitored by a cloud provider's engineers dedicated to protecting that infrastructure.

Cloud computing security or, more simply, cloud security refers to a broad set of policies, technologies, applications, and controls utilized to protect virtualized IP, data, applications, services, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing. Cloud security entails securing cloud environments against unauthorized use/access, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, hackers, malware, and other risks. It is a sub-domain of computer security, network security, and, more broadly, information security. 

Security plays an important role in cloud technology and providers take it extremely seriously. Their business depends on it. Plus, there are many regulatory bodies and compliance requirements from industries of all kinds driving the need for the cloud to be both as accessible as possible, while also being as secure as possible. In addition, a one-size-fits-all approach isn't the answer to cloud security. But with the many tools and practices now available, security shouldn't provide an obstacle to effective cloud migration and management.

Please refer to "Wikipedia: Cloud Computing Security" for more details.

 

The Core of Cloud Computing Technologies

 

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[Cloud Computing Layers - ResearchGate]

There are two key elements at the core of cloud computing technology, which are: SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and cloud virtualization, which are described in further detail below:

 

- SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)

SOA Architecture – SOA is built on computer engineering approaches that offer an architectural advancement towards enterprise system. It describes a standard method for requesting services from distributed components and after that the results or outcome is managed. The primary focus of this service oriented approach is on the characteristics of service interface and predictable service behavior. Web Services means a set or combination of industry standards collectively labeled as one. SOA provides a translation and management layer within the cloud architecture that removes the barrier for cloud clients obtaining desired services. Multiple networking and messaging protocols can be written using SOA's client and components and can be used to communicate with each other. 

SOA provides access to reusable Web services over a TCP/IP network, which makes this an important topic to cloud computing going forward. This element of cloud technology allows organizations to access cloud based computing solutions with features that can be modified on demand, as business needs change. Service Oriented Architecture allows independent web services to communicate with each other via the Internet in real time, providing the flexibility that is required to rapidly reconfigure the service delivery for a specific cloud computing offering. SOA places the responsibility and costs of development, deployment and maintenance of web service components on the web services provider, which allows a web services consumer to access various web services without the expense or overhead that is associated with traditional methods of IT services delivery. SOA is a powerful technological component of cloud computing because it facilitates centralized distribution and component reuse, which significantly drives down the cost of software development and delivery.

 

- Cloud Virtualization

Cloud Virtualization is another important aspect of a cloud system that facilitates the efficient delivery of cloud computing services. The implementation of virtual computing resources in the cloud, that mimic the functionality of physical computing resources, serves as a flexible load balancing management tool that allows for the swift adjustment of computing services delivery on demand. Virtualization technology provides organizations with a tool that promotes high levels of availability, scalability and reliability; in terms of the cloud systems or cloud computing technology that an enterprise can access to meet its information technology needs. Virtualization is also a very important component of cloud computing technology for the purposes of disaster recovery and fail-over support. 

Virtualization in Cloud Computing is making a virtual platform of server operating system and storage devices. This will help the user by providing multiple machines at the same time it also allows sharing a single physical instance of resource or an application to multiple users. Cloud Virtualizations also manage the workload by transforming traditional computing and make it more scalable, economical and efficient. Virtualizations in Cloud Computing rapidly integrating the fundamental way of computing. One of the important features of virtualization is that it allows sharing of applications to multiple customers and companies. Cloud Computing can also be known as services and application delivered to help the virtualized environment. This environment can be either public or private. With the help of virtualization, the customer can maximize the resources and reduces the physical system which is in need.

 

The Major Types of Cloud Computing

 

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services like servers, storages and more over the Internet. The companies that offer these computing services are called cloud providers. They charge for cloud computing services based on usage.

Cloud computing is usually classified on the basis of location, or on the service that the cloud is offering. Based on a cloud location, we can classify cloud as: Public, Private, Hybrid, and Community Cloud. Based on a service that the cloud is offering, we classify as: IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS(Platform-as-a-Service), SaaS(Software-as-a-Service), or, Storage, Database, Information, Process, Application, Integration, Security, Management, Testing-as-a-service.

Although you do not realize you are probably using cloud computing right now, most of us use an online service to send email, edit documents, watch movies, etc. It is likely that cloud computing is making it all possible behind the scenes. 

Check out the Wikipedia: Cloud Computing for more details.  

 

 

[More to come ...]


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