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A basic guide to cloud computing for enterprise environments

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Cloud computing is not merely a technology buzzword, it’s a way of thinking about modern computing capacity that may benefit your business. Cloud covers a category of services that can be made available on-demand, from application-based data to multifaceted data storage.

Practically, cloud is collection of interconnected virtualized computers that can be dynamically provisioned – seen as unified computing resource.

Cloud can be...

  • Infrastructure: like hardware, storage, servers, or load balancer; 
  • A platform: like a development environment, programming language, framework, or editor; 
  • Software: like productivity suites, social networks, or a video player. 

Cloud services can be configured to adjust a load so optimum resources utilization is achieved, and providers may offer a pay-per-use model through a customizable service level agreement to address this dynamism. 

 Important concepts behind cloud computing: 

  • Hardware virtualization: Allows users to run multiple operating systems on a single physical platform for maximum utilization of hardware resources, like memory, I/O devices, and processors. For example, VMWare ESXi.
  • Distributed computing:  Permits computing resources to scatter physically on various nodes/terminals but treat them as a unified resource. For example, clusters and load balancers.
  • Web services: Created using basic, universal standards of HTML and HTTP, providing a mechanism to implement a service-oriented, text-based architecture (JSON/XML), protocol and technology independent way of providing loosely coupled services. For example, SOAP and REST. 
  • Autonomic computing: A self-managing computer system able to adapt to changes (like system load) based on policy input. For example, IBM’s autonomic computing. 

With improved resource management and scale, providers can offer services at a lesser cost, passing on these gains to customers. And cloud computing offers special benefits for some businesses, including:

  • No capital investment: With cloud computing, businesses don’t require initial capital investment toward hardware as everything is hosted on a provider’s servers in the facilities they maintain.
  • Instant scalability: Cloud computing is almost instantly available, compared to traditional deployment processes requiring businesses to buy, install, configure, and maintain servers. And with cloud computing, maintenance and scalability is built in. If you need extra resources because of an unexpected peak in website traffic, you can increase your computing capacity with ease. If that peak only lasts for a day or two, you can scale down as demand decreases. Moreover, most of the providers offers scalability either automatic or as self-service (without any manual intervention). This help accommodating both planned growth and unpredictable demand with ease.
  • Pay-per-use pricing:  Cloud offerings are mostly charged on a pay-per-use basis, so you only pay for the computing resources you require, avoiding paying up-front fixed cost.
  • Non-functional features: Most of the cloud providers offers very stable, high performant and world class offerings of non-functional requirements of IT infrastructure (sometimes called as qualities of the system or architecturally significant recruitments) like high availability and security. Although actual offerings depend on your SLA and agreements with the providers, typical cloud hosting makes system highly available and secured. Having said that, in cloud environment high availability and security is a shared responsibility and cloud’s HA and security does not guarantee it for applications running inside.  

I’m grateful to be a part of a company that recognizes the awesome potential of cloud computing, collaborating with our customers and partners across the globe to support organizations’ migration to the cloud.




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