Cloud Computing 2015

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Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. [1]The word cloud is a metaphor for “the internet”, inspired by the symbol that's often used to represent the Internet in flowcharts and diagrams, and means “a type of internet-based computing”.[2] Cloud computing enables individuals and enterprises to storage and process data in third-party data locations. It also offers business users flexible and cost efficient solutions with its four service models and four deployment models. With an internet connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.[3][4]


Contents

History

Cloud Computing History

In 1969, J.C.R. Licklider first introduced the idea of an “ intergalactic computer network”, which was for everyone on the globe to be interconnected and accessing programs and data at any site, from anywhere. His vision sounds a lot like what we are calling cloud computing.[5]

In 1999, SSalesforce.com arrived as the first milestone in cloud computing history. It pioneered the concept of delivering enterprise applications via a simple website.[5]

In 2002, Amazon Web Services(AWS) started to providing cloud-based services. Amazon was the first major organization to modernize its data center.[5]

In 2006, Amazon introduced the first cloud computing infrastructure service: Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2),which allowed companies and individuals to rent computers to run their own computer applications. [5]In the same year, Google launched Google Docs service which enabled users to share documents directly through cloud.[6]

In 2007, there was a industry-wide collaboration between Google, IBM and a number of universities across the United States(US).[7]

In 2008,the first open source platform for deploying private clouds came out, and was followed by the first open source software -- OpenNebula, which deployed private and hybrid clouds.[7]

In 2009, as Web 2.0 grew rapidly, and Microsoft entered the field of cloud computing by launching the Microsoft Azure, a browser-based enterprise cloud computing platform. [8]Google launched its Google App Engine which was reorganized as Google Cloud Platform later. Alibaba also established its cloud department in the same year.[9]

In July 2010,Rackspace Hosting cooperated with NASA, and launched an open-source cloud software known as OpenStack.[10]

On March 1, 2011, IBM announced IBM Smartcloud.[11]

On June 7, 2012, Oracle announced the Oracle cloud.[12]

Essential Characteristics

Cloud Computing 5 Essential Characteristics
Cloud Computing 5 Essential Characteristics

On-demand self-service

A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider. This implies that a customer can order service via the web or some other method at any point at any time which becomes immediately available for his or her use.[13]

Broad network access

Capabilities are available over the network and can be accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by varied thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).[13]

Resource pooling

The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers by using a multi-tenant model. The computing resources which contained different physical and virtual resources dynamically are assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.[13]

Rapid elasticity

Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward equivantly with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.[13]

Measured service

Cloud systems automatically control and optimize the resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, reported; and at the same time, provides transparency for both the provider and consumer with the utilized service. [13] This cloud characteristic allows a cloud user to consume the service in a “pay as you grow” model, or enables internal IT departments to provide IT chargeback capabilities.[14]

Service Models

The general architecture of could computing contains a front end platform, back end platforms, a cloud based delivery and a network. The front end platform can be clients or mobile device. The back end platform can be servers or storages.The network can be any of the Internet, Intranet and Intercloud.
Cloud Computing Service Models
Cloud Computing Service Models
[15]

Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • Definition: 'Software as a Service', describes when users 'rent' or borrow online software instead of actually purchasing and installing it on their own computers. When the subscription period expires, the software is no longer valid. SaaS is subscription based, and all upgrades are provided during the term of the subscription. [16] [17]
  • Suitable Situation:SaaS is widely accepted to have been introduced to the business world by the Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product. As one of the earliest entrants it is not surprising that CRM is the most popular SaaS application area, however e-mail, financial management, customer service and expense management have also gotten good uptake via SaaS.[18]

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • Definition: PaaS is the set of tools and services designed to make coding and deploying those applications quick and efficient. It can be defined as a computing platform that allows the creation of web applications quickly and easily without the complexity of buying and maintaining the software and infrastructure underneath it.[18]
  • Suitable Situation:PaaS is suitable when multiple developers working on a development project, or when there is a need for external parties to collaborate during the development process.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

  • Definition: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) delivers cloud computing infrastructure as an on-demand service.Clients can purchase the servers, software, database or network facilities as an infrastructure package. [18]
  • Suitable Situation: IaaS is suitable for the situations where there is a large fluctuation in demand on the infrastructure, a capital shortage in investing hardware, or when the infrastructure is only required in a short term.[18]

Data as a Service (DaaS)

  • Definition: Data as a Service offers data as on-demand service to the clients.[19]
  • Suitable Situation: DaaS is suitable for customers who use data to generate a graph, chart or map, or possibily performance analysis. It needs to be aware that the data cannot be downloaded but only be used and processed on the cloud.

Deployment Model

Cloud Computing Deployment Models
Cloud Computing Deployment Models

Private cloud

The private cloud is a cloud infrastructure which designed for exclusive use by a single organization. The cloud can be either owned or managed by the organization, a third part or a combination of them.[13]

Public cloud

The public cloud is cloud infrastructure which designed for open use by the general public. The cloud can be either owned or managed by a business, government organization, or a combination of other types. [13] The public cloud provides services over the Internet and customer’s infrastructure or applications which are hosted by the cloud service provider.[20]

Hybrid cloud

The hybrid cloud is a cloud infrastructure composited of two or more cloud infrastructures (private, public and / or community). [13] It allows the organizations to keep operations and information in private cloud while also utilizing a public cloud service for other non-sensitive operations.[20]

Community Cloud

The community cloud is shared cloud infrastructure among several organizations which have similar cloud requirements and objectives. [21] It has the same characteristics as private cloud.[13]

Cloud Computing Application

Amazon Web Services(AWS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS cloud is probably the biggest one of them all. At its most basic, it's companies offering virtual space for a price in which customers can host and develop services.

Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Services(AWS): AWS has cut prices ruthlessly in the face of competitors like Google and Microsoft. As a result, it's a key player in the IaaS market, where it hosts the back-ends of the likes of music streaming service Spotify. Now it's also jumped into the virtual desktop space with Amazon Workspaces, through which you can rent a virtual desktop running in AWS.
  • Microsoft Azure:Redmond's IaaS cloud is a close rival to AWS, and boasts predictive analytics, private storage and disaster recovery services in its extensive wrapping. It has supported customers including Mazda and Lufthansa, and Marks & Spencers said a microsite it built in Azure took weeks instead of months.[1]

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is where software is hosted in the cloud, but appears on your device with full functionality.

  • Salesforce.com: Salesforce has turned into the go-to provider for SaaS CRM solutions, with Gartner stating the firm is dominating the market. With the arrival of Force.com, it's pushed into the world of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to try and get other firms to build apps it can offer as part of its service, expanding its offering greatly.
Insightly
  • Insightly: One for the SMBs, Insightly provides CRM SaaS that integrate with Google's Gmail and Google Apps, as well as Outlook 2013 and Office 365. The idea is to help customers track their dealings with potential customers, with its SaaS apps accessible from both iOS and Android.[1]

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is used by developers to build applications for web and mobile using tools provided by the PaaS provider - these range from programming languages to databases (e.g., SQL).

Red Hat OpenShift
  • Red Hat OpenShift: This open source-based PaaS provider lets developers customize it as much as they want, and can be provided free as a trial (just 1GB storage is offered, though). It comes in three variations: as a cloud-based service in 'Online', run from your data center in 'Enterprise' and as an open source app hosting platform in 'Origin'.
  • Heroku: This platform supports a tonne of programming languages, from Java to Ruby to Python. One of the earliest PaaS providers, it offers third-party apps as well as its own 'dynos' - visualized containers that run processes in soiled environments.[1]

Storage

Cloud storage can handle all kinds of structured and unstructured data - from documents to pictures, from multiple sources.

  • Google Drive: Google's gone and upped its cloud storage offering by providing unlimited, free storage to all students. The "infinitely large" service complements Google Drive's regular 15GB free storage. It also combines the tools previously known as Google Docs, as well as all the files built with those tools, and offers the ability to create within Drive - an especially convenient feature when on the move. Its compatibility with iOS, Android, Windows and OS X means it's as useful on your desktop as on your smartphone.
  • Box: The enterprise-focused cloud storage firm Box offers 10GB of space for free. To differentiate its offering in the face of stiff competition, Box has introduced Workflow, an engine that automates the routing of documents and files as well as the actions people need to take on them. That is an added bonus to its file-sharing service, which lets people work together on documents.[1]

Advantages

Flexibility

Capacity Demand Forecasting
Capacity Demand Forecasting
Ticket-Selling Event Capacity Demand
Ticket-Selling Event Capacity Demand

Cloud computing is highly flexible. In traditional business model, the companies need to acquire much compute capacity, which should always be a bit more than its actual need. Thus, in case of a high demand, the company will have to acquire the higher level of compute capacity to avoid the under capacity in order to process all data; this creates a waste of capacity. Similarly, when the demand is relatively low, the company will always have the over capacity. See the Capacity Demand Forecasting graph as illustrations.

For example, in a ticket-selling event, the demand may be outstandingly high in the first several hours or days, which require much computing capacity. Then there may be a period of peace which demand is relatively stable and low. There may be another peak in demand in the last several days where event is about to happen. In this case, the company would need to acquire the highest capacity of the whole process, which creates a waste during the period of peace. See the Ticket-Selling Event Capacity Demand graph as illustrations.

Using cloud computing, the company can avoid such a dilemma, by purchasing a high capacity at the beginning and ending, and a low capacity in the middle. This sharing-capacity model not only save money for this specific company, but also making the whole computing capacity more efficiently used for all companies which use the cloud service.

Cost Efficient

Cloud computing is probably the most cost efficient method to use, maintain and upgrade. Traditional desktop software costs companies a lot in terms of finance. Adding up the licensing fees for multiple users can prove to be very expensive for the establishment concerned. The cloud, on the other hand, is available at much cheaper rates and hence, can significantly lower the company’s IT expenses. Besides, there are many one-time-payment, pay-as-you-go and other scalable options available, which makes it very reasonable for the company in question.[2]

Scalability

Unlike the traditional computing capacity purchase, where the companies need to physically acquire the storage, cloud computing allows companies to purchase only a piece of cloud. In other words, the whole cloud is like unlimited storage capacity to a company; it can easily scale up without much changes to its current IT structure. Companies do not need to worry anymore about running out of storage space or increasing current storage space availability.[2] [3]

Backup and Recovery

Since all the data are stored on the cloud, backing up and restoring data are relatively easier than physical device. Furthermore, most cloud service providers are usually competent enough to handle recovery of information. Hence, this makes the entire process of backup and recovery much simpler than other traditional methods of data storage.[2] [3]

Everywhere Access to Information

When the information is stored on the cloud, it no long matters where it is accessed or what devices used. For example, when a user stores his/her information on a Google Drive (a common cloud service), he/she can open the same page using the mobile phone or desktop.[2]

Automatic Software Integration

In the cloud, software integration is usually something that occurs automatically. This means that you do not need to take additional efforts to customize and integrate your applications as per your preferences. This aspect usually takes care of itself. Not only that, cloud computing allows you to customize your options with great ease. Hence, you can handpick just those services and software applications that you think will best fit your particular enterprise.[2] [3]

Quick Deployment

Lastly and most importantly, cloud computing gives you the advantage of quick deployment. Once you opt for this method of functioning, your entire system can be fully functional in a few minutes. Of course, the amount of time taken here will depend on the exact kind of technology that you need for your business. [2] [3]

Issues

Who Has Access to Your Data

Security & Privacy

Since the cloud computing service is provided through internet, there is a possibility that the data and information can be accessed by internal visitors or even unauthorized third parties. Its characteristics allow the hackers to have the opportunities to control over the whole storage and access to the data freely. In addition, in some countries’ regulations, the vendors can share the data and information with third-parties without informing the clients.

  • Internal Access: The most common internal group who can access to the data stored on cloud is the vendor employees. Usually, the cloud computing vendor companies have strict regulations for their employees, internal contractors and agents. In case of internal employees fail to meet the obligations, they may be terminated according to the regulations and policy of the company.[1] [2]
  • External Access: The external visitors can be different parties. It can be hackers, competitors, governments or even curious individuals. Except for choosing a cloud vendor with high level of technical protection, users can encrypt data and information to prevent unauthorized access while storing data in cloud.[3] [4]
  • Back-up: Based on the cloud computing characteristics, a contingency plan of losing connect to the cloud or even losing data is necessary. Usually, the cloud vendors will have their cloud storage copied and physically stored in a different city or country. However, in most vendors’ terms of service agreement, they will not take any responsibility to recover or fix the data lost. It is often claimed as a client’s responsibility to have a full back-up plan themselves.[5]

Legal

  • Regular legal: Currently, the regulations and the acts related to cloud computing are not comprehensive but under development. A major concern which attracts much attention is the ownership of the data. Since the companies store their data in the cloud, the usage of data by the vendors become a blind point. Can the vendor use the data to make profit? To what extent they can access their clients’ data? Most terms of service agreements are silent on the question of ownership.[6]
  • Regulation across the world: As users can access the cloud through internet which is border-less, companies can always find foreign cloud vendors. For example, currently many Canadian companies are hiring the cloud vendors from the US. Although Canada has the PIPEDA to regulate the organizations on how to collect, use and disclose the personal information, the US companies are not bound in this act. US cloud vendors who had the Canadian clients can share Canadian customers’ data with the US authorities according to US laws which states that US vendors do have the rights to share data without informing the clients. It has become a significant privacy risk for Canadian companies especially the government-related companies.[3]

In addition, if a company operates its business across various countries, the regulation differences among these countries will become a crucial concern. For example, both Russian and Chinese governments have restrictions of access to certain websites or filtered search results. [7]The regulations about the privacy and usages of data are quite different as well. Therefore, more attention is needed on the legal and regulation issues, while choosing the cloud vendors.

Future Trends

The research shows that within two years, 34% of companies will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform, and 47% of marketing departments will have more than 60% of their applications on a cloud platform. [8] According to Gartners Hype cycle, cloud computing has reached a maturity that leads it into a productive phase. This means that most of the main issues with cloud computing have been addressed to a degree and there will be a huge growth of the usage for the cloud computing. [9] [10] Regardless of whether cloud computing is at the hype or fleeting stage, many have agreed on some cloud predictions for the coming years, like hybrid cloud boom, the growth of mobile cloud computing and generation of the “Cloudify”.

The Growth of Mobile Cloud Computing

Mobile cloud computing at its simplest, refers to an infrastructure where both the data storage and data processing happen outside of the mobile device. Mobile cloud applications move the computing power and data storage away from mobile phones and into the cloud, bringing applications to not just smartphone users but a much broader range of mobile subscribers. [11] As mobile devices grow increasingly popular now, there will be a huge increase in demand on cloud computing. With most new software being built for cloud from the outset, it is predicted that by 2016 over a quarter of all applications which is around 48 million will be available on the cloud. [12]

More Adoption on Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud, a mix of on and off premises, offers a combination of strengths allowing organizations to achieve the performance of on-premises solutions yet also the management convenience of the cloud business model.[12] The industry leaders like Gartner predict that 50% of the companies will have the hybrid cloud as early as 2017.[9] The research shows that the top 4 advantages for companies which want to move to the hybrid cloud from the public cloud are, more security (34%), better control by the IT team (19%), the improved performance of the hybrid clouds(17%) and the lower cost(14%). [8]Even though there are still limitations, Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman notes that “hybrid cloud operations will be a logical outcome of the path many organizations have already started down.”[9]

"Cloudify"

As computing capacity and storage are now enabled to be on the cloud, the requirements for "computers" can be significant low. In other words, anything that can receive the data or transfer data can be "cloudified". In addition, when the things are connected to the cloud and to the each other, they will create a synergy effect.

For example, when a person walks into a room, the calendar app on his/her phone may know it has been a busy day; and the heart rate and blood pressure data from the watch will indicate that he/she needs a break. The two types of data synergize with each other, and “notify” the light to be dimmer, music to be quieter and temperature will be adjusted slightly warmer. All those changes are made at the moment this person walks into the room. To some extent, there is no single computer to make important “decisions”, but the decisions are decentralized to different small “computers”.

Indeed, "cloudication" leaves much space for imagination; not only because so many things can be "cloudified", but also "cloudified" things can create literally unlimited combinations and synergy effect.

References

  1. Privacy Policy (2015, June 30). In Google Privacy & Terms. Retrieved August 7, from http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/#infosecurity
  2. Who Can Pry into Your Cloud-based data (2013, July 16). In ComputerWorld. Retrieved August 7, from http://www.computerworld.com/article/2484000/cloud-computing/who-can-pry-into-your-cloud-based-data-.html
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kratz, M. (n.d.). How Privacy Laws In Canada Affect The Cloud. In Cloud Computing in Canada. Retrieved August 7, from http://www.cloudcomputinginfo.ca/security/how-privacy-laws-in-canada-affect-the-cloud
  4. Canadian privacy law, cloud computing and how it applies to nonprofits (2014, October 29). In Tech Soup Canada. Retrieved August 7, from https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/community/blog/cloud_privacy_law
  5. Business Agreement (2015, May 1). In Dropbox - Terms. Retrieved August 7, from https://www.dropbox.com/terms#business_agreement
  6. Maltais, Michelle (26 April 2012). "Who owns your stuff in the cloud?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-12-14
  7. Wong, E., Zhao, K., & Dougherty, C. (2014, December 29). China Adds New Barrier to Gmail. The New York Times. Retrieved August 7, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/30/technology/gmail-is-blocked-in-china-after-months-of-disruption.html?_r=2
  8. 8.0 8.1 Columbus, L. (2015, April 5). Predicting The Future Of Cloud Service Providers. In Forbes. Retrieved August 7, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2015/04/05/predicting-the-future-of-cloud-service-providers/
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Babcock, C. (2013, October 1). Gartner: 50% Of Enterprises Use Hybrid Cloud By 2017. In Network Computing. Retrieved August 7, 2015, from http://www.networkcomputing.com/cloud-infrastructure/gartner-50--of-enterprises-use-hybrid-cloud-by-2017/d/d-id/1111769
  10. Denecken, S. (2012, December 20). 10 Cloud Computing Trends for 2013. In SAP News Center. Retrieved August 7, 2015, from http://news.sap.com/10-cloud-computing-trends-for-2013/
  11. Dinh, H. T., Lee, C., Niyato, D., & Wang, P. (2011). A survey of mobile cloud computing: architecture, applications, and approaches. In Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing (Vol. 13, pp. 1587-1611). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcm.1203/full
  12. 12.0 12.1 Menegaz, G. (2014, May 22). The future of cloud computing: 5 predictions. In Thoughts On Cloud. Retrieved August 3, 2015, from http://www.thoughtsoncloud.com/2014/05/future-cloud-computing-5-predictions/
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