CLOUD COMPUTING

Cloud computing refers to the on-demand provision of computational resources (data, software) via a computer network, rather than from a local computer. Cloud computing describes a new supplement, consumption, and delivery model for IT services based on Internet protocols, and it typically involves provisioning of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources. It is a byproduct and consequence of the ease-of-access to remote computing sites provided by the Internet.

Interest in cloud computing has become very strong these days. With the growing adoption of cloud computing there has been a concurrent growth in the number and variety of vendors in the market place with cloud offerings. These providers range from established IT industry leaders as a service vendors leveraging cloud computing to broaden their scope to players leveraging other domain expertise or partnerships to enter the cloud arena, along with numerous telecommunications and hosting service providers.

The following article will provide a base for the major enterprises to take take into consideration some methods to evaluate the applicability and suitability of this technology for their needs.

Public cloud

Public cloud or external cloud describes cloud computing in the traditional mainstream sense, whereby resources are dynamically provisioned on a fine-grained, self-service basis over the Internet, via web applications/web services, from an off-site third-party provider who bills on a fine-grained utility computing basis.

Community cloud

A community cloud may be established where several organizations have similar requirements and seek to share infrastructure so as to realize some of the benefits of cloud computing.

Hybrid cloud and hybrid IT delivery

The main responsibility of the IT department is to deliver services to the business. With the proliferation of cloud computing (both private and public) and the fact that IT departments must also deliver services via traditional, in-house methods, the newest catch-phrase has become “hybrid cloud computing”. Hybrid cloud is also called hybrid delivery by the major vendors including HP, IBM, Oracle and VMware who offer technology to manage the complexity in managing the performance, security and privacy concerns that results from the mixed delivery methods of IT services.

Combined cloud

Two clouds that have been joined together are more correctly called a "combined cloud". A combined cloud environment consisting of multiple internal and/or external provider "will be typical for most enterprises".

Common cloud management platform: optimizing service delivery through visibility, control and automation

Well-designed cloud architectures and solutions must address the difficult realities of “layers of complexity” in distributed IT environments. While much industry discussion has focused on infrastructure (network, compute, storage), significant challenges also exist in achieving the low-touch automation required to successfully scale to economically successful cloud solutions. Masking complexity for users, supporting cloud business models and managing heterogeneous, distributed environments are the top service management challenges for any cloud architecture.

Availability and performance

In addition to concerns about security, businesses are also worried about acceptable levels of availability and performance of applications hosted in the cloud.

The key security focus areas for the cloud services layer include:

  • Federated identity, authorization and entitlements
  • Audit and compliance reporting
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Secure separation of subscriber domains
  • Secure integration with existing enterprise security infrastructure.

Security

The relative security of cloud computing services is a contentious issue which may be delaying its adoption. Issues barring the adoption of cloud computing are due in large part to the private and public sectors unease surrounding the external management of security based services. It is the very nature of cloud computing based services, private or public, that promote external management of provided services. This delivers great incentive amongst cloud computing service providers in producing a priority in building and maintaining strong management of secure services.

Organizations have been formed in order to provide standards for a better future in cloud computing services. One organization in particular, the Cloud Security Alliance is a non-profit organization formed to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing.

Summary

Cloud computing promises a new approach to IT economics—but also presents new challenges. Everyone, from the CIO to the enterprise end user, has come to expect a new standard from technology, including masking complexity, providing enterprise-class security, delivering “dial tone” reliability, and wrapping it all in a friendly, easy to use self service package. These expectations are fueled in part by users’ personal consumer experiences with companies such as Amazon and Google. Companies are moving ahead with cloud computing projects as a way to address end user expectations while reducing costs. Because cloud computing can potentially be a disruptive change to the way an enterprise’s IT services are delivered, the stakes are high when it comes to selecting a cloud vendor. One way CIO scan narrow the selection gap is by examining candidate vendors’ reference architecture for cloud.

 
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