Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing- How much you know of it (Part-1)

I am sure there would be many like me who would want to catch up with the cloud trend. This would be of some help.

Definition:

Cloud Computing is the delivery of applications or services over the internet cloud. You may not have realized it, but if you’ve been using the prominent social networking sites or webmail, you have most probably been using apps deployed on the cloud.

Cloud computing is the result of the constant need for better and more efficient utilization of computing resources which has been enabled with the advent of new technologies like Virtualization.

In the traditional client-server model or older mainframe computing, a user connects with a server to perform a task. The difference with cloud computing is that the computing process may run on one or many connected computers at the same time, utilizing the concept of virtualization. With virtualization, one or more physical servers can be configured and partitioned into multiple independent “virtual” servers, all functioning independently and appearing to the user to be a single physical device. Such virtual servers are in essence disassociated from their physical server and with this added flexibility, they can be moved around and scaled up or down on the fly without affecting the end user.

With operating system–level virtualization essentially creating a scalable system of multiple independent computing devices, idle computing resources can be allocated and used more efficiently. Virtualization thus provides the agility required to speed up IT operations and reduces cost by increasing infrastructure utilization. Autonomic computing automates the process through which the user can provision resources on-demand. By minimizing user involvement, automation speeds up the process, reduces labour costs and reduces the possibility of human errors.

History:

The concept of Cloud Computing is not new. The underlying concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1950s, when large-scale mainframe computers were seen as the future of computing. They were used for communications but had no internal processing capacities. To make more efficient use of costly mainframes, a practice of sharing CPU time on a mainframe known as time-sharing evolved.

Cloud Computing Gartner

Professor John McCarthy, in the 1960s, referred cloud computing as the ability to provide and organize computation as a “public utility”. He said “Computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility. Each subscriber needs to pay only for the capacity he actually uses, but he has access to all programming languages characteristic of a very large system. Certain subscribers might offer service to other subscribers. The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry.”Thus Professor John McCarthy introduced the concept of cloud computing.

In 2002, Amazon led with the introduction of its Amazon Web Services. It allowed users to access storage, computation solutions and other apps through the internet. Facebook was founded in 2004, revolutionizing the way users communicate and the way they store their own data (their photos and video), inadvertently making the cloud a personal service.

Further in 2006, Amazon expanded its cloud services, first through the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) which allowed the users to rent virtual computers to run their own computer applications. Then they brought out Simple Storage Service (S3). This introduced the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model to both users and the industry as a whole, and it has basically become standard practice now.

Salesforce.com then launched force.com in 2007. This platform as a service (PaaS) let companies’ developers build, store and run all of the apps and websites they needed to run their business in the cloud.

Google Apps launched in 2009, allowed people to create and store documents entirely in the cloud.

Most recently, cloud computing companies have been thinking about how they can make their products even more integrated. In 2010 Salesforce.com introduced the cloud-based database at Database.com for developers, marking the development of could computing services that can be used on any device, run on any platform and written in any programming language.

For further reading refer, Cloud Computing- How much you know of it (Part-2) which includes Service Models – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and Deployment Models- Private, Public, Community and Hybrid clouds.

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