What is Cloud Computing ? By Helena.

DEFINITION

The definition of Cloud Computing is not as clear and unambiguous as e. g. definitions in mathematics or physics are. According to Wikipedia, “Cloud Computing is Internet-based development and use of computer technology“. This can include many different things, though. A bit more exactly, the concept can be explained as usage of technology services via the Internet, without needing to know or control the infrastructure which supports them. Of course, it is still an umbrella term covering various offerings and architectures, but the idea of reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users is the main common concept of all of them.

However, Cloud Computing should not be confused with grid computing – a distributed computing concept, where a ‘supercomputer’ is composed of single networked machines. Cloud Computing is rather about using the software and hardware resources of the provider by the end user then about providing the end user’s computing power to a central subject.


MAIN ASPECTS, POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES

  • location independence – the user can access the desired service from anywhere in the world, using any device with any (supported) system

  • cost-effectiveness – the whole infrastructure is owned by the provider and thus it does need to be purchased by the consumer (which is especially useful when performing infrequent computing tasks), moreover the infrastructure can be physically located in areas with low costs (electricity etc.); on the other hand it is necessary to realize that using the Cloud Computing technology may cause relevant increasing of network traffic

  • performanceis monitored and consistent, but can be affected by insufficient bandwidth or high network load

  • reliability – is enhanced by way of multiple redundant sites, but outages always happen, and affected users are then not able to do much about it …

  • scalability – the concept quickly meets changing user demands as the users can always make use of exactly what they need at the moment, which also can help to lower the costs

  • security – there is a low risk of data loss thanks to centralization, but problems with control over sensitive data need to be solved

  • readily consumable – the user usually does not need to do much deployment or customization, as the provided services are easy to adopt and ready-to-use; on the other hand, the user also does not have much control over the application’s behavior and its changes (as the provider is the owner and manager of the code)


A LITTLE HISTORY

The term ‘Cloud Computing’ started to appear in the beginning of the 21st century, although the idea of a similar concept is, of course, older. In 2007 it started gaining its popularity in the mainstream press and by mid-2008 it was already a hot topic and numerous Cloud Computing events had been scheduled.

Cloud Computing is being driven by providers including Amazon, Google and Microsoft. It is being adopted by individual users through large enterprises including General Electric, L'Oréal, and Procter & Gamble.

The origin of the term is in the common depiction of the Internet in network diagrams – it is often represented by a cloud. :-)


SOURCES & LINKS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

http://www.hyperic.com/blog/cloud-computing-definition/

http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/07/15FE-cloud-computing-reality_1.html

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=Networking+and+Internet&articleId=327832&taxonomyId=16&pageNumber=1


Comments:

Nice summary. I think cloud computing also implies provisioning and deployment, where you first provide a resource in the cloud (e.g. a 200GB virtual disk, mounted on a newly started Amazon instance) and then deploy your software/service to the resource. Maybe your new Q-layer stuff does this, or your xVM Ops Center?

I think this is the key difference from regular web hosting providers where your servers and storage are pretty much fixed and only scale up or down after you sign a new contract for a year.

Posted by Kevin Hutchinson on January 13, 2009 at 08:16 AM CET #

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Members of the EMEA Globalization Center are blogging about the products that comprise the Java Enterprise System stack.

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