What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing, an efficient method to balance between dealing with voluminous data and keeping costs competitive, is designed to deliver IT services consumable on demand, is scalable as per user need and uses a pay-per-use model. Business houses are progressively veering towards retaining core competencies, and shedding the non-core competencies for on-demand technology, business innovation and savings.
• Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Delivers computing hardware like Servers, Network, Storage, etc. Typical features are:
a) Users use resources but have no control of underlying cloud infrastructure
b) Users pay for what they use
c) Flexible scalable infrastructure without extensive pre-planning
• Storage-as-a-Service (SaaS): Provides storage resources as a pay-per-use utility to end users. This can be considered as a type of IaaS and has similar features.
• Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Provides a comprehensive stack for developers to create Cloud-ready business applications. Its features are:
a) Supports web-service standards
b) Dynamically scalable as per demand
c) Supports multi-tenant environment
• Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Supports business applications of host and delivery type as a service. Common features include:
a) User applications run on cloud infrastructure
b) Accessible by users through web browser
c) Suitable for CRM (Customer Resource Management) applications
d) Supports multi-tenant environment
There are broadly three categories of cloud, namely Private, Hybrid and Public.
• All components resident within user organization firewalls
• Automated, virtualized infrastructure (servers, network and storage) and delivers services.
• Use of existing infrastructure possible
• Option for management by user or vendor
• Works within the firewalls of the user organization
• Controlled network bandwidth
• User defines and controls data access and security to meet the agreed SLA (Service Level Agreement).
a) Direct, easy and fast end-user access of data
b) Chargeback to concerned user groups while maintaining control over data access and security
• Easy, quick, affordable data sharing
• Most components reside outside the firewalls of user organization in a multi-tenant infrastructure
• Access of applications and storage by user, either at no cost or on a pay-per-use basis.
• Enables small and medium users who may not find it viable or useful to own Private clouds
• Low SLA
• Doesn’t offer a high level of data security or protection against corruption
• Leverages advantages of both Private and Public Clouds
• Users benefit from standardized or proprietary technologies and lower costs
• User definable range of services and data to be kept outside his own firewalls
• Smaller user outlay, pay-per-usage model
• Assured returns for cloud provider from a multi-tenant environment, bringing economies of scale
• Better security from high quality SLA’s and a stringent security policy
Future Projections and Driving User Segments
1. Media & entertainment – Enabling direct access to streaming music, video, interactive games, etc., on their devices without building huge infrastructure.
2. Social/collaboration – cloud computing enables more and more utilities on Face book, Linked-In, etc. With user base of nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, this is a major driving application
3. Mobile/location – clouds offering location and mobility through smart phones enable everything from email to business deals and more.
4. Payments – Payments cloud, a rather complex environment involving sellers, buyers, regulatory authorities, etc. is a relatively slow growth area
Overall, Cloud Computing is a potent tool to fulfill business ambitions of users, and with little competition on date, is poised for a bright future.