My personal tech ramblings about the day to day tech happenings

Cloud Computing Demystified  

Off late i've been hearing a lot about the cloud computing and a lot of confusing thoughts too about it while everyone was naming it as

But later did i realize its not one of them but its just a conglomerate of all of the above. But the problem with the cloud computing is that every tech company now wants to be associated with the bandwagon called "cloud computing", no matter if their products and services meet the basic criteria. So i thought i should write about it in a simplified way and hence this piece of article.

what is cloud computing ??
Its actually a Convergence of following three main trends which were prominent in the recent past.

Virtualization : Its one of the hottest trend in recent past in where there is a serious attempt on separating Applications from the infrastructure and their dependence on the infrastructure.

Utility Computing: Its one of the computer service where server capacity is accessed across a grid as a variably priced shared service

Software as a service : In this service applications are available on demand on a subscription basis

As time passed people wanted to extract the best of all these trends and a cheaper alternative hence it lead to development of Cloud computing.

In layman's terms its a computing service which shrinks and grows in accordance to the demand and does the transition with no glitch unlike the traditional Dedicated computing services.

What led to the developments of Cloud computing ??
It all began when Broadband prices went cheaper and cheaper which made people realize that people don't need to have a data center in their house all that mattered was just a fast internet connection that would connect to the closest Data center or any data center in the world. This lead to the development of Software as a Service which was when people started selling accounts for accessing their softwares which few vendors try to provide. All that one does is just access the application through their browsers while the application is actually running in the data center for the user who has logged in and all this was done for a fixed subscription fees.

So..This looks like a win-win situation for all isn't it ??

Well when Someone else owns the applications and we pay a part of the price involved as a subscription and use it, it almost nullifies the thought about the hardware and machines running the applications because it no longer belongs to you and we don't have to devote time on developing and maintaining an application that we are not expert in. But this approach of a standard size for all will not match the requirements of all the people. As every single guy has his own requirement ( which varies from being simple to complex).

Privacy was yet another major issue to some of the users cause the actual data was outside their Firewall and which they thought is a big security issue.

Subscription cost was not feasible for "Cost Vs Usage" to the service provider.

Every enterprise which wanted to use this Service always was in lookout for:
  • convenience and simplicity of Saas
  • Flexibility of Traditional Computing
So On the whole they needed a hybrid that would run any product as a serivce in a data centre that some one else owns and manages it. But the only obstacle was that the applications were difficult to deploy in new environment.. but the concept of virtualization simplified things..

In Virtualization Applications and infrastructures are different, which allows servers to be shared easily by many applications and many applications to be run virtually anywhere one wants them to run as long as the applications is virtualized

Virtualization of an application in short means that its a portable version of the applications which simply means that one has to package the application with virtually everything that it needs to function and run independently which include the database, the various middleware and operating system, this self contained unit of virtualized application can run anywhere. There is no need for it to work in a data centre or in application provider's data centre. It could even run in a cloud.

The cloud is computing service which charges only on the amount of computing service that one uses . Its similar to pay as you go option which is the most economic option available at this point of time which sets it apart from software as a service (SaaS)

Why should one adopt Cloud computing ???
This thing would be better explained is an analogous fashion, If the service that you need is like a house then in case of Using Traditional Licensed Software is like buying a top end car for a fixed price with all the features, service and warantty whether you use it or not and one is expected to pay cash upfront on delivery.

With Software as a Service (SaaS) is like renting a car you get the expected vehicle but you can't customize it to your needs cause its not under your ownership. One is expected to pay a standard fee on a monthly basis and is guaranteed a certain amount of service on the car

With Cloud computing its like having a personalised top end racing car as a taxi for your disposal, all that you are made to pay for is the distance that you travel with the functionality of the top end car on the demand basis. Well one doesn't even have to pay for the maintenance, and other costs associated with the cab. Its the most economical option when compared to others.

Metaphorically speaking if the Cloud computing is considered as a car then its core engine is Virtualization, without the virtualization the cloud would be impossible. The car never runs without the engine and one can't install the applications to the cloud without virtualization involved in it.

So the first step to the cloud computing is to adapt the application for virtualization and then its moved into the cloud (quiet literally )

Why cloud Computing ??

  • Its the most Elastic options thats available and take in any kinda load that is entrusted on it.
  • Scalabilty .
  • Instant gratification.
  • The very way it switches between clouds of servers makes it very Flexible.
  • Its way too Inexpensive when compared to dedicated servers option.
  • Its Reliable as far as its functionality as concerned

It really levels the playing field for all kinds of business regardless of its size and ensures that every business is provided the required impetus when required to prosper. I guess these should be good enough option for anyone to think of switching overto cloud computing.

Is this one really practical ?? Did anyone deploy it ??
There are many who have deployed it and are using it in a very successful way, some of which are : Amazon and Google's app Engine which are the obvious ones to have embraced the technology.

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  • Nutty Martian  
    June 8, 2009 at 7:08 AM

    nice long post...typical whacky ishtyle :P

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