Cloud computing technology has been a new buzzword in the IT industry and expecting a new horizon for coming world. It is a style of computing which is having dynamically scalable virtualized resources provided as a service over the Internet. It reduces the time required to procure heavy resources and boot new server instances in minutes, allowing one to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as ones requirement changes. Nevertheless the technology is hot in the market and is ready to cater to the small and medium business segment. As per one of the estimates from Gartner, by year 2012, 20% of enterprise market e-mail seats will be delivered via Cloud. As per another estimate from Gartner, Software as a Service is forecast to have a compound annual growth rate of 17% through 2011 for CRM, ERP and SCM markets in SMB segment. While the enterprises are exploring the possibilities of adopting this technology, it is imperative for these enterprises to critically evaluate the feasibility of this technology for their specific businesses.
The typical characteristic of this technology:
Cloud computing customers do not generally own the physical infrastructure serving as host to the software platform in question. Instead, they avoid capital expenditure by renting usage from a third-party provider. The entire onus lies on the service provider who owns the huge scalable and variable host of infrastructure, software and bundle of other services. Cloud computing consumers consume resources as a service and pay only for resources that they use. Many cloud-computing offerings employ the utility computing model, which is analogous to how traditional utility services (such as electricity) are consumed, while others bill on a subscription basis. Sharing "perishable and intangible" computing power among multiple tenants can improve utilization rates, as servers are not unnecessarily left idle (which can reduce costs significantly while increasing the speed of application development).
This article provides brief details about the cloud computing with an overview of key features to give a glimpse about the new focused technology.
Look up on few facts:
Look up on few facts:
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is emerging at the convergence of three major trends — service orientation, virtualization and standardization of computing through the Internet. Cloud computing enables users and developers to utilize services without knowledge of, expertise with, nor control over the technology infrastructure that supports them. The concept generally incorporates combinations of the following:
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Platform as a service (PaaS) Software as a service (SaaS)
Users avoid capital expenditure (CapEx) on hardware, software, and services when they pay a provider only for what they use. Consumption is billed on a utility (e.g. resources consumed, like electricity) or subscription (e.g. time based, like a newspaper) basis with little or no upfront cost.
There are many companies who are into the market offering various ranges of services on Cloud Computing. The major players are Vmware, Sun Microsystems, Rackspace US, IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. Cloud services are also being adopted by individual users through large enterprises including Vmware, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble. The vendor hosts and manages the infrastructure required with the respective technology.
Cloud as a Service to Customer
The cloud computing that are evolving as a service in the cloud are being provided by big enterprises with a heavy investment with resource and technology which are accessed by others via the internet. The resources are accessed in this manner as a service – often on a subscription basis. The users of the services being offered often have very little knowledge of the technology being used. The users also have no control over the infrastructure that supports the technology they are using.
There are six different forms that have been consolidated so far to understand how the services are being provided to the customers:
This types of cloud computing delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers using a multitenant architecture. On the customer side, it means no upfront investment in servers or software licensing; on the provider side, with just one app to maintain, costs are low compared to conventional hosting. SaaS is also common for HR apps and has even worked its way up the food chain to ERP, with players such as Workday. And some who could have predicted the sudden rise of SaaS desktop applications, such as Google Apps and Zoho Office.
2. Utility computing
The idea is not new, but this form of cloud computing is getting new life from Amazon.com, Sun, IBM, and others who now offer storage and virtual servers that IT can access on demand. Early enterprise adopters mainly use utility computing for supplemental, non-mission-critical needs, but one day, they may replace parts of the datacenter. Other providers offer solutions that help IT create virtual datacenters from commodity servers, such as 3Tera's AppLogic and Cohesive Flexible Technologies Elastic Server on Demand. Liquid Computing's LiquidQ offers similar capabilities, enabling IT to stitch together memory, I/O, storage, and computational capacity as a virtualized resource pool available over the network.
3. Web services in the cloud closely related to SaaS
Web service providers offer APIs that enable developers to exploit functionality over the Internet, rather than delivering full-blown applications. They range from providers offering discrete business services -- such as Strike Iron and Xignite -- to the full range of APIs offered by Google Maps, ADP payroll processing, the U.S. Postal Service, Bloomberg, and even conventional credit card processing services.
4. Platform as a service ‘Another SaaS variation’
This type of cloud computing deliver development environments as a service. You build your own applications that run on the provider's infrastructure and are delivered to your users via the Internet from the provider's servers. Like Legos, these services are constrained by the vendor's design and capabilities, so you don't get complete freedom, but you do get predictability and pre-integration. Prime examples include Coghead and the new Google App Engine. For extremely lightweight development, cloud-based abound, such as Yahoo Pipes or Dapper.net.
5. MSP (managed service providers)
One of the oldest forms of cloud computing, a managed service is basically an application exposed to IT rather than to end-users, such as a virus scanning service for e-mail or an application monitoring service (which Mercury, among others, provides). Managed security services delivered by SecureWorks, IBM, and Verizon fall into this category, as do such cloud-based anti-spam services as Postini, recently acquired by Google. Other offerings include desktop management services, such as those offered by CenterBeam or Everdream.
6. Service commerce platforms
A hybrid of SaaS and MSP, this cloud computing service offers a service hub that users interact with. They're most common in trading environments, such as expense management systems that allow users to order travel or secretarial services from a common platform that then coordinates the service delivery and pricing within the specifications set by the user. Think of it as an automated service bureau. Well- known examples include Rearden Commerce and Ariba.
Benefit of Cloud Computing
There is a lot of benefit for the business looking for the service from the cloud service provider. Apart from the bundle of suits they have to offer, it focus all an escape from huge investment into IT infrastructure and operating cost.
Reduce Runtime and Response time
For applications that use the cloud essentially for running batch jobs, cloud computing makes it straightforward to use 1000 servers to accomplish a task in
1/1000 the time that a single server would require. The New York Times example cited previously is the perfect example of what is essentially a batch job whose run time was shortened considerably using the cloud. For applications that need to offer good response time to their customers, refactoring applications so that any CPU- intensive tasks are farmed out to ‘worker’ virtual machines can help to optimize response time while scaling on demand to meet customer demands. The Animoto application cited previously is a good example of how the cloud can be used to scale applications and maintain quality of service levels.
Minimise Infrastructure Risk
IT organizations can use the cloud to reduce the risk inherent in purchasing physical servers. Will a new application be successful? If so, how many servers are needed and can they be deployed as quickly as the workload increases? If not, will a large investment in servers go to waste? If the application’s success is short-lived, will the IT organization invest in a large amount of infrastructure that is idle most of the time? When pushing an application out to the cloud, scalability and the risk of purchasing too much or too little infrastructure becomes the cloud provider’s issue. In a growing number of cases, the cloud provider has such a massive amount of infrastructure that it can absorb the growth and workload spikes of individual customers, reducing the financial risk they face. Another way in which cloud computing minimizes infrastructure risk is by enabling surge computing, where an enterprise data center (perhaps one that implements a private cloud) augments its ability to handle workload spikes by a design that allows it to send overflow work to a public cloud. Application lifecycle management can be handled better in an environment where resources are no longer scarce, and where resources can be better matched to immediate needs, and at lower cost.
Lower cost of entry
Since the infrastructure is rented, not purchased, the cost is controlled, and the capital investment can be zero. In addition to the lower costs of purchasing compute cycles and storage “by the sip,” the massive scale of cloud providers helps to minimize cost, helping to further reduce the cost of entry.
Applications are developed more by assembly than programming. This rapid application development is the norm, helping to reduce the time to market, potentially giving organizations deploying applications in a cloud environment a head start against the competition.
Increased pace of innovation
Cloud computing can help to increase the pace of innovation. The low cost of entry to new markets helps to level the playing field, allowing start-up companies to deploy new products quickly and at low cost. This allows small companies to compete more effectively with traditional organizations whose deployment process in enterprise data centers can be significantly longer. Increased competition helps to increase the pace of innovation — and with many innovations being realized through the use of open source software, the entire industry serves to benefit from the increased pace of innovation that cloud computing promotes.
Free from software licensing/up gradation/maintenance
Cloud computing frees up user from any further licensing of the software or from up gradation and maintenance. All the services are provided by the service providers. No longer having to worry about constant server updates and other computing issues, government organizations will be free to concentrate on innovation.
A mobile profile
Since all is accessible through internet, it will be accessible globally. It will be too much beneficial for a small and medium sized enterprise that is not willing to invest a lot in network setup and wish to free from maintenance.
An interim evaluation for the Business
In cloud computing models, customers do not own the infrastructure they are using; they basically rent it, or pay as they use it. The loss of control is seen as a negative, but it is generally out-weighed by several positives. One of the major selling points of cloud computing is lower costs. Companies will have lower technology-based capital expenditures, which should enable companies to focus their money on delivering the goods and services that they specialize in. Still there are key features for consideration before one talk for the need of the business. Since entire gamut of services is available in the market one has to be very choosey and do lots of self evaluation before drawing a final plan for the business.
1. In which stage of your business life cycle you are planning to scale for the service of cloud computing?
2. What business line you need to support and how much is the requirement os for your business.
3. How much cost effective it can be when you rent the services?
4. Which type of service is going to be beneficial for you?
5. What is the organization preferred technology, development platform and business that require for this type of service?
6. Is your organization having the capabilities to handle these services, as these services needs lot of competency to handle it as there are lots of mechanism with different layers of service present in them.
7. How much risk is associated with the data dependency when it is a kept in others infrastructure?
8. How much performance and bandwidth is required to use this type of service
with comparison to the current business needs? Is the company able to cope it up with the existing bandwidth to its business needs?
There is no limit for the evaluation, and consideration should be made with respect to the current business in one is, with respect to the multiple factors with responsiveness towards stake holders and business needs, financial goals, investment capabilities, profitability, future planning, industrial growth, service providers offerings etc. One can only earn the advantage through the new technology only if they are able to do a correct feasibility study to mitigate the business need.
As any technology is a boon for an evaluation as the history is evidence, there are disadvantages too which cannot be ignored. Despite a fact cloud computing has so many features which can be awaiting a new horizon there are also key factors which cannot be ignored. Few have been summed up below:
Lack of connectivity causes 100% downtime, whereas with traditional applications, lack of connectivity allows for some local function to continue until connectivity is restored.
The lack of industry-wide standards means that a usage surge can easily overwhelm capacity without the ability to push that usage to another provider.
Companies providing computing services will over-sell these services similar to how bandwidth is over-sold based on average or "peak" usage, instead of "maximum" usage. ISP's typically operate at multiples of 5 to 1, where they sell
5 times more than they have in capacity, assuming users will not use more than 20% of their allotted resources. This works, until there is a popular YouTube video that everyone wants to see at the same time.... resulting in outages. Cloud computing is even more vulnerable to the peak-usage problem than internet bandwidth.
"Denial of service" attacks, currently common, become easier. What's more they become harder to trace, as compromised "cloud resources" can be leveraged to launch the attacks, rather than compromised "individual pc's". Cloud computing is vulnerable to massive security exploits. Currently, when a system is broken into, only the resources of that system are compromised. With cloud computing, the damages caused by a security breach are multiplied exponentially.
By "centralising" services, cloud computing increases the likelihood that a systems failure becomes "catastrophic", rather than "isolated".
No political approach has been made till date to control the uncontrolled factors to bring the service under the boundary lines of trust and owner ship, as these services are beyond country lines.
The key motive to publish this paper is to give a glimpse of understanding on cloud computing as a technology for a new era. Its potential is considered so vast that it is surely going to give up a new dimension for the generation to come. So, in the long run, most of the companies (large, mid size or small) do not want to have the overhead cost associated with running a large IT department that is solely involved in sustaining existing enterprise application. Large companies do not have the risk tolerance to start using cloud computing immediately. Most CEO’s and top IT Executives in large organizations will wait for the technology to mature before putting even the most non-essential applications on someone else’s servers. It gives a new aspect to do a business without owing so much. The concept is so new that work is still going on to cater the world with the best way for the companies having a technology appetite. There is a big push for cloud computing services by several big companies. Amazon.com has been at the forefront of the cloud computing movement. Google and Microsoft have also been very publicly working on cloud computing offerings. Some of the other companies to watch for in this field are Yahoo!, IBM, Intel, HP and SAP. Several large universities have also been busy with large scale cloud computing research projects. There is no end to the evolution until one stops thinking. In the future, more cloud adoption is certain, this year alone the move to the cloud by many business has been phenomenal, so much so that some cloud business have grown by over 200%. Large vendors see this as the growing model for software and services in the future so more focus by the vendors is afforded. Do not be surprised